I-League 2017-18: Aizawl FC snaps eight-match winless streak

Striker Lalkhawpuimawia struck a brace (16 & 87th) after Romanian midfielder Andrei Ionescu's early goal in the seventh minute.

The win kept Aizawl in the hunt for a place in the Super Cup as it took its points tally to 21 from 16 points and to sixth place in the table.   -  Twitter

Host Aizawl FC snapped an eight-match winless streak, scoring an emphatic 3-0 win over Indian Arrows in an I-League match at the Rajiv Gandhi stadium here on Friday. Striker Lalkhawpuimawia struck a brace (16 & 87th) after Romanian midfielder Andrei Ionescu's early goal in the seventh minute. The win kept Aizawl in the hunt for a place in the Super Cup as it took its points tally to 21 from 16 points and to sixth place in the table. Arrows stays at the bottom with 15 points from 17 matches.

Aizawl’s initial thrust from both flanks unnerved the Arrows defence. Lalkhawapuimawia, operating wide on the right arrowed in a cross which beat the outstretched hands of Arrows goalkeeper Sukhan Singh and came to Ionescu, who found the back of the net from close. Arrows tried to regroup by holding possession in the mid-field and launched the attacks through the wings, but the defensive phalanx put by the Aizwal back four didn’t allow the ball to reach the lone striker Edmund Lalrindika who was upfront.

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Aizawl struck again in the 16th minute against the run of play when Ziakhi Dodoz squared the ball to overlapping Laldinliana on the right flank. Lalkhawpuimawia ran in to connect the cross from Laldinliana, but the shot hit the post and ricochetted back to the striker, who converted it without much fuss. For all the possession, the Arrows enjoyed in the midfield--the only shot that came closer to a goal--came in the 21st minute when Edmund Lalrindika tried an acrobatic overhead kick. But the ball went straight to goalkeeper Avilash Paul. Aizwal played the waiting game, concentrating more on counterattacks to stun its rival and the ploy worked as Aizawl nearly went ahead in the 44th minute, when Ionescu induced a good save from Sukhan Singh.

Arrows played with more freedom in the second half, launching the attacks through the wings. Noarem had a shy at the Aizawl goal early in the 49th minute, but a quick counter from Aizwal saw Ziakhii Dodoz hit the post from close in the 51st minute. Arrows continued to pile up the pressure on the Aizawl goal, but couldn’t cash on to the half chances that came its way. Anwar Ali, with a long ball, found Deepak Tangri inside the box, but the header was feeble and was saved by Avilash.

In the 60th minute, Ionescu was late to reach a defence-splitting pass from Rochhar Zela. The Arrows goal fell again in the 87th minute when Zikhai Dodoz send Lalkhapuimawia with a through ball, and the striker had no difficulty in beating goalkeeper Sukhan Singh. Aizawl Coach Santosh Kashyap was relieved man and said his team was made to fight hard for the victory. "Contrary to the scoreline it was a tough match. I am happy with the win," he said.

Result

Aizawl FC 3 (Lalkhawpuimawia 16 & 87, Andrei Ionescu 7) bt Indian Arrows 0.