MINOO FERNANDES | NT
Vasco: Joe Zoherliana’s late goal in the add-on time of four minutes helped Aizawl FC overcome stiff resilience from stubborn Indian Arrows as they edged them 2-1 in the Hero I-League match played at Tilak Maidan, Vasco on Monday.
Aizawl FC went into the lead in the 64th minute through substitute William Lalnjunfela but Indian Arrows levelled the score through hardworking medio Vikram Pratap Singh in the 81st minute. Aizawl FC scored the match-winner in the add on time of 90+4 minutes through their U-22 defender Joe Zoherliana, who leaped high to connect a cross off William Lalnunfela. Aizawl FC could have gone into the lead in the opening minute itself following a faulty clearance by an Indian Arrows defender; the ball travelled to Aizawl striker Abdolaye Kanoute but his powerful grounder missed the mark narrowly.
It was in the 19th minute that the Indian Arrows managed to create a decent move which saw medio Ricky Shaboung dodged a rival defender in the middle and then sent a good pass to striker Harmanpreet Singh, but the last named not so powerful shot gave no problem at all to Aizawl FC keeper Lalremruata.
Aizawl FC continued making flourishing moves and almost scored in the 22nd minute when medio Isak Vanlalruatfela passed the ball to Abdoulaye, who messed up a great opportunity as he sent a poor shot which Arrows keeper Samik Mitra managed to parry away easily.
Aizawl FC came close to scoring in the 31st minute when swift-footed Isak raced down the middle and passed the ball to Abdoulaye, whose stiff grounder however was brilliantly collected by Indian Arrows keeper Samik.
Aizawl pressed on for a goal and in the very next minute had another goal scoring chance, but this time Abdoulaye once again fared poorly and failed to beat the Indian Arrows keeper who advanced forward and collected the ball from the feet of the striker. Just as the match neared the end of the first session, Aizawl FC created a sudden counter foray which saw striker Abdoulaye send a powerful shot which the Indian Arrows keeper sent it for an abortive flag kick with a diving save.
The second session seemed to have begun well for the Indian Arrows team when they forced a flag kick in the 47th minute and the ball which was floated well by Moirangthem Givson Singh went wasted as none rushed in the six yard box to connect a header.
Immediately thereafter Aizawl’s dashing medio sent a rasping drive which was collected by the Indian Arrows keeper Samik Mitra who had a good day under the bar. The script of the match in the second session did not change much, though Indian Arrows inducted Hendry Antonay replacing Ajin Tom and Aizawl FC continued with their domination sans finding the mark. Aizawl’s Malian striker Aboudoulaye had atleast eight shots which were all collected by the Indian Arrows keeper.
After persistent efforts, Aizawl FC went into the lead in the 64th minute when their playmaker Isak raced down the right flank and after entering the 18-yard box, dispatched a calculated cross to substitute striker William Lalnuefela who was inducted in the 54th minute and scored within ten minutes after entering the field, when he smartly tapped the ball in to find the mark to the great joy of his teammates.
Indian Arrows made all the their substitutions, bringing in Hendry, Suraj Rawat and Gurkirat Singh in a hope to change their fortunes and indeed it helped when in the 81st minute Arrows most dazzling player –medio Vikram Pratap Singh scored to level the score.
It was defender R V Hormipam who sent a long lofted ball to Vikran Singh on the right flank who raced inside the box and then banged it in to beat Aizawl F C keeper
As the match headed for a 1-1 draw suddenly Aizawl F C scored the match winner at the fact end of the match through Joe Zoherliana to register their first straight win in the matches played so far.