I-League: Mohun Bagan suffers first loss against Aizawl

Joel Sunday opened the scoring for the host in the third minute but Cornell Glen equalised for the visitor in the 24th minute. But the home team showed great fighting spirit and Lalchhawnkima scored from the spot to hand last years’ champion its first defeat of the 2015-16 season.

Aizawl players celebrate their goal againt Mohun Bagan   -  I-League Media

Aizawl: Aizawl FC produced an impressive performance to outclass defending champion Mohun Bagan 2-1 in an I-League football match at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Saturday.

Joel Sunday opened the scoring for the host in the third minute but Cornell Glen equalised for the visitor in the 24th minute. But the home team showed great fighting spirit and Lalchhawnkima scored from the spot to hand last years’ champion its first defeat of the 2015-16 season.

The home team showed great intent from the beginning. They scored an early goal when Sunday curled a pass from Brandon. The Nigerian striker, having collected the ball, outfoxed defender Kingshuk Debnath and slotted it towards the far-end of the net, beyond the reach of Bagan goalkeeper Debjit Majumder.

Bagan came back strongly in the match when Glen, having capitalised on mix-up between Aizawl keeper Lalawmpuia and defender Lalthakima, tapped it home, to shut the 6,000-odd Aizawl FC supporters. The first half ended with a score of 1-1.

After the break, the Aizawl players were at the top of their game and Bagan defenders had a torrid time containing the agile attackers. Finally, the home side found the elusive goal from the penalty.

Aizawl defender Lalruatthara tried his luck from inside the box but it was blocked by Dhanachandra Singh with his hand. The referee didn’t hesitate to award a penalty in favour of the home team and flashed the yellow for the sturdy defender. Lalchhawnkima converted the penalty calmly to send the crowd into ecstasy.

Bagan’s Shankarlal Chakraborty praised the home team for its swashbuckling display.

“We did not play good football, especially in the second half. Aizawl FC were the better side and they deserved to get three points,” Chakraborty said.

Aizawl FC coach Jahar Das also praised his boys.

“Our team plays a good brand of football even when we don’t earn points. I expect us to do so even in the coming matches. This is not just a victory for Aizawl FC. It is a victory for Mizoram,” Das said.

With three more points, Aizawl FC now has 12 and move up the table, leapfrogging Shillong Lajong FC, whom it has been scheduled to meet on April 1 in the return leg. Mohun Bagan, however, is still perched at the top, with a three-point gap over Bengaluru FC, which has played one match less than the Kolkata giant.