After eight winless games, Aizawl FC got back to winning ways on Friday defeating Indian Arrows 3-0 at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Aizawl.
In a game where both sides had a lot of chances to score, Aizawl ran away with three points as they scored three goals.
Romanian midfielder Andrei Ionescu (seventh) opened the scoring having netted his third goal of the season, man of the match Lalkhawpuimawia (16th, 87th) scored a sublime brace to settle with all three points.
Arrows right-back Boris’ backpass was tracked by Dodoz but the Ivorian forward could not open the scoring.
Aizawl needed only seven minutes to score the first goal of the match. Mapuia skipped past Stalin in the byline and sent a teasing ball towards goal, Arrows goalkeeper Sukham failed to grab the goal as it found its way to Ionescu, who easily found the back of the net three yards out.
Matos’ boys settled into the game and were enjoying a lion’s share of the ball possession since then. Local boy Lalengmawia with Jeakson Singh were controlling the midfield but failed to engineer a goal-scoring chance.
Santosh Kashyap implemented a new formation and it proved vital as Mapuia scored Aizawl’s second goal of the match in the 16th minute. Mapuia slipped from the guard of the Arrows defenders, his first shot hit both the woodwork but on rebound, he didn’t make any mistake to double the lead.
Edmund Lalrindika’s acrobatic attempt was spectacular for the eye but bore no fruit as it didn’t trouble Aizawl’s goalkeeper Avilash Paul in the 21st minute.
The home side were presented with a wonderful chance to grab their third goal of the match but Dodoz’s powerful shot was thwarted away by Sukham, much to the delight of his teammates. The young boys couldn’t find their rhythm in the first 45 minute as Aizawl led 2-0 in the first half.
Minutes into the second half, Dodoz was presented with a gem of a chance when he was released by right back Dinliana’s defence-splitting pass. The Ivorian striker was one-on-one with the goalkeeper but he blasted the shot over the crossbar.
Arrows fought back and nearly pulled one back in the 50th minute when Anwar Ali’s shot from inside the box was superbly parried away by Avilash Paul. Manipuri winger Nongdamba Naorem, who had scored one of the best goals scored in the ongoing I-League 2017-18 season, danced past Aizawl defender but his shot from inside the box couldn’t trouble Paul.
To confirm three points was in the bag, Mapuia scored his second and Aizawl’s third in the 87th minute when he calmly tucked the ball in the back of the net after Dodoz provided him with a lovely pass from the back.
Aizawl FC are now equal on points with fifth-placed Shillong Lajong who have 21 points with one game in hand. Arrows continue to stay rooted at the bottom with 15 points as they’ll now head to Goa where they’ll host the Mariners in their final match of the league on February 27.
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