William Lalnunfela brace seals Aizawl draw against East Bengal

A fine brace from William Lalnunfela rescued I-League defending champion Aizawl FC from being two goals down to securing a draw against East Bengal in its season opening clash.

William Lalnunfela's last gasp added time equaliser ensured defending champion Aizawl FC held East Bengal to a draw in its opening I-League encounter. (File Photo)   -  Rajeev Bhatt

William Lalnunfela found the target twice to help defending champion Aizawl FC recover from a deficit of two goals and hold a powerful East Bengal 2-2 in an exciting I-League match at the Salt Lake Stadium on Tuesday.

All the four goals came in the second half as both sides doubled their attacking plans after a barren opening session. Having missed a number of chances in the first half, the host finally got the break midway through the second half when its Brazilian defender Eduardo Ferreira found the net.

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Japanese midfielder Katsumi Yusa doubled the lead for East Bengal few minutes later before William nodded home a set-piece to pull one back for Aizawl. William showed his goal poaching skills once again off another set-piece (a corner this time) in the last minute of added time to level the issue for Aizawl.

In the opening half, East Bengal earned at least three clear chances to find the lead but its Trinidad and Tobago striker Willis Plaza failed to find the mark. His first effort in the seventh minute went wide while his second in the 14th minute was saved by the Aizawl goalkeeper Avilash Paul. Plaza’s third effort in the 35th minute came off the framework leaving the host frustrated.

After Plaza had failed on two more occasions after the break , Eduardo found the net in the 66th minute nodding home a corner from Katsumi. The hardworking Japanese midfielder found the target himself in the 72nd minute when diverted home an attempt from Mohammad Rafique.

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Just when it appeared that East Bengal was walking away with three points, Aizawl pulled one back in the 74th minute. William finished a free-kick taken by David Lalrinmuana before he utilised the second opportunity coming his way, this time through a corner in the last minute of added time (90+6 minute) to spoil the party of the host.

The result: East Bengal 2 (Eduardo Ferreira 66, Katsumi Yusa 72) drew with Aizawl FC 2 (William Lalnunfela 74, 90+6).

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