Aizawl FC today booked a berth in the summit clash of the Federation Cup football tournament in its maiden appearance after it drew with Sporting Clube de Goa 2-2 in the second leg of the semifinals here today.
Aizawl qualified for the final on the basis of the away goals rule having played out a goallless draw in the home leg match in Aizawl. It takes on Mohun Bagan in the final on May 21 at Guwahati.
The first half of the match at the Nehru Stadium here was fought on even terms with both sides unable to penetrate each other’s defence as play was confined to the midfield.
Sporting Goa had the first real chance to surge ahead when a move on the right saw Sumeet Passi sending a cross inside the box for Nicholas Fernandes on the left whose left footer was tipped over by rival keeper Soram Poirei Anganba.
The visitor, which was looking to beat the rival defence on the counter-attack, broke the deadlock in the 39th minute when Ricky Lallawmawma sent a long ball from the left that beat the defence and Joel Sunday, who was unmarkde inside the box, sent it past goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharja to the right side of his net.
The goal was a wake up call for the home team as it went all out and nearly found the equaliser two minutes latter but Victorino Fernandes, who was put through by Mohammed Al Amnan, directed the ball straight into the keeper Anganba.
Sporting kept the pressure on in the dying minutes of the first half and Sumeet Passi found the equaliser from a header after Loveday’s goal-bound header came to him off a flag kick taken by Pratesh Shirodkar.
The second half saw Sporting showing more urgency in its attack but a sudden loss of cool by Pratesh Shirodkar cost them dear as he brought down David Lalrinmuana inside the box and thus conceded a penalty.
Lalchhawnkima made no mistake in beating keeper Arindam to his right in the 58th minute from the spot.
Sporting made an all out effort and coach Mateus Costa made a vital change, bringing in Glan Martins in place of Ganesh Thakur and the move paid off as Martins scored after the ball rebounded off the rival keeper’s hands off a shot taken by defender Subhashish Bose to restore parity.
The last 10 minutes turned out to be dramatic as both the teams tried to score the winner. Aizawl FC was reduced to ten men in injury time when David Lalrinmuana needlessly got the second yellow card for arguing with the referee Pranjal Banerjee.
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