Aizawl knocks Chennaiyin FC out of Super Cup

I-League side Aizawl FC staged a spirited performance to defeat Indian Super League champion Chennaiyin FC 2-2 (5-3 pens) and progress to the next round of the Super Cup.

Aizawl FC players celebrate after scoring against Chennaiyin FC in the Super Cup on Saturday.   -  BISWARANJAN ROUT

I-League side Aizawl FC staged a spirited performance to defeat Indian Super League champion Chennaiyin FC 2-2 (5-3 pens) and progress to the next round of the Super Cup.

The first half began with Aizawl going on the attacking mode from the very first minute. Its first attempt at the Chennayin goal came in the second minute through Afghan Masih Saighani, but it failed to find the back of the net. Aizawl was soon lucky to get another chance to score through free kick just a couple of minutes later from just outside the goal box, but the shot yielded no results, landing safely into the hands of Chennayin goalkeeper Karanji​t Singh.

Aizawl drew first blood in the 22nd minute when Romanian Andrei Ionescu made a brilliant run through the scattered Chennayin defenders and gave his side the all important lead. Chennayin tried to stage a comeback through a few coordinated attacks later but couldn’t find its way past the Aizawl defence. The first half came to an end with Aizawl enjoying a one-goal advantage

Aizawl continued attacking in the second half but failed to capitalize on its lead. However, on the other hand, Chennayin made a few attempts on goal but some sharp saves from Aizawl goalkeeper Arup ensured that Aizawl remained in the lead.  

Chennayin finally breathed relief in the 89th minute through a cracking goal from Brazilian Mailson Alves. Chennayin there after kept pressing on the opponent’s side but failed to find the winner within regulation time.

Romanian Andrei Ionescu reinstated Aizawl's lead with a fantastic goal in the very first minute of the extra time. The first half of extra time ended with Aizawl in the lead. Both sides had close chances in the second half but it was Dhanachandra Singh’s shot from just outside the box that gave Chennayin the much-needed equalis​er in the 114​th minute,  taking the game to penalty shoot-outs. 

Aizawl raced to a 2-1 lead in the shootout when Mohammed Rafi sent his penalty well over the crossbar. That proved to the turning point as Aizawl scored all their penalties and clinched a memorable win.