I-League: Aizawl FC lose 1-0 to Shillong Lajong in Northeastern derby
Aizawl’s unbeaten run in the I-League came to an end vs Shillong Lajong as the defending champions lost 1-0 at home to their Northeastern rivals courtesy of Redeem Tlang’s winner.football Updated: Dec 18, 2017 19:17 IST
Khasi winger Redeem Tlang scored the solitary goal as Shillong Lajong snapped the unbeaten run of Aizawl with a 1-0 win in the first Northeast Derby of the I- League season here today.
In a hard-fought encounter, Redeem Tlang scored in the 60 minute to help Shillong Lajong FC secure their third win of the season.
The win gives Lajong the much needed three points and with this win they move to the second position in the league table. They are equal on points with leaders Minerva Punjab FC but have played one game more than the league leaders.
Aizawl, who had managed to garner 25 points from the possible 27 points at home last season, made only one change to the team that faced Churchill Brother with Lalbiak Thanga filling the gap left by injured David Rinmuana.
Lajong’s coach Nongbet made two changes, replacing captain Samuel Lalmuanpuia and Alen Deory in the starting XI with Shaibor Karpan and Kynsailang Khongsit respectively.
Rajiv Gandhi Stadium -- also known as the fortress for Aizawl FC -- saw the diminutive winger H Lalmuankima steal the ball at the halfway line and sent a delightful pass to Kobayashi only for the Japanese to waste his golden chance.
Kobayashi was alone in the box with no pressure from the Lajong boys, but still couldn’t find the back of the net.
Both teams found it hard to carve out goal scoring chances and just after the half hour mark, Yemenese midfielder Al-Hagri danced past Aizawl’s Saighani and Kareem but his weak shot was collected easily by goalkeeper Avilash Paul.
Al Hagri was given another gem of a chance but again his poor finishing let him down. After an array of chances in the first 45 minutes the score stood at 0-0 at the end of the first half.
Both teams started the second half brightly but it was the away team who drew first blood. Al Hagri’s shot inside the box was blocked by the Aizawl’s boys but the ball fell to Tlang, who calmly curved the ball towards the far side of the net and scored his second league goal of the season.
Tlang again got a chance but the winger’s effort was heroically palmed away by the Aizawl FC goal keeper.
Menezes introduced Romanian attacker Andrei Ionescu at 67th minutes but the substitution was in vain as Andrei had little effect on the game.
H Lalmuankima’s penalty appeal was not given by referee Om Prakash Thakur and a few moments later Kobayshi’s shot flew just over the cross bar.
Aizawl, now in 6th place, have played three games, managing 4 points along the way.
Aizawl will host high-flying Minerva Punjab FC in their last home game of the year on December 27, while Lajong will play their second Northeast Derby against I-League debutants NEROCA FC on December 23.
First Published: Dec 18, 2017 18:43 IST