I-League: Kobayashi's late strike grasps three points for Aizawl

The defending I-League champion Aizawl got the better of Churchill Brothers FC Goa 1-0, thanks to the late strike by the forward Yugo Kobayashi.

Yugo Kobayashi

Yugo Kobayashi (14) scored the winning goal for Aizawl against Churchill Brothers in an I-League match.   -  Special Arrangement

Aizawl FC had a perfect outing in front of its fans on Wednesday as the Reds garnered full three points in their first home match of the ongoing I-League 2017-18 season.

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The defending champion Aizawl got the better of Churchill Brothers FC Goa 1-0, thanks to the late strike by the forward Yugo Kobayashi.

Although the Aizawl FC fans had to wait till the 88th minute for the goal, the game provided enough of nervy and heart pumping moments to them. 

William Lalnunfela, who scored a brace for Aizawl against East Bengal was the notable absentee against Churchill. Shylo Malsawmtluanga, the most experienced player in the squad again had to sit out today meaning he will have to wait longer to make his debut for Aizawl in the league.

Churchill coach Mykola Shevchenko made three changes to his playing XI that faced Mohun Bagan in its previous match. Suraj and Israil Gurung took the field as Karthik Govindswamy and Emuejeraye Precious failed to retain their place in the starting line-ups.

The home side did not waste time in carving out its first chance of the match. Centre back Saighani perfectly weighted a through ball which was chased down by Mka to deliver a perfect cross for Ivorian forward Leonce Dodoz, but the forward who have played for Aizawl's rival Chanmari FC earlier could not convert his golden chance.

His header was parried away by Churchill goalkeeper Kithan. Japanese forward Kobayashi's shot from inside the box was blocked by centre-back Osagie Monday a few seconds later.

Though Aizawl dominated possession for the better part of the first half, it could not create any clear-cut chance. An injury to David Lalrinmuana dented the home team as it lacked creativity and ideas in the attacking third of the pitch. The first half ended in a scoreless draw.

After the hour-mark, the home side upped the tempo of the game and created several good chances but Kobayashi could not convert the chances that fell on his path.

Just when Churchill thought it deserved a point from the game Kobayashi scored the only goal of the game in the 88th minute. The shrewd forward slotted the solitary goal of the match from a Dodoz pass. 

Towards the end of the game, six additional minutes wasn't enough for Churchill to get an equaliser, which is still left empty-handed after three straight losses in the ongoing season.

Aizawl with 4 points from 2 games now move up to the fifth spot on the table but Churchill's nightmare continues as the Red Machines continue to totter at bottom of the table.

The Goan team have to quickly shrug off the loss as they travel to Kolkata to play the high-flying East Bengal on Saturday. Aizawl will play its next home game against Shillong Lajong two days later.

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