AIZAWL: After suffering their second defeat of the season at the hands of Mohun Bagan, Aizawl FC quickly got back to winning ways as they overcame Chennai City FC 2-0 at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium today.
Japanese striker Yugo Kobayashi (26′) and Man of the Match David Lalrinmuana (32′) scored a goal apiece in the first 45 minutes to garner their fourth win of the ongoing I-League season having played seven games.
The champions made four changes from the side that lost to Mohun Bagan as K. Lalthathanga, Leonce Dodoz, Lalramhmunmawia and William Lalnunfela were replaced by Lalrosanga, Yugo Kobayashi, David Lalrinmuana and Albert Zohmingmawia.
Chennai City’s head coach V. Soundarajan made only a single change as the French striker Jean Michael Joachim was slotted in the playing XI in place of Murilo Almeida.
Menezes’ boys proved him right as they started the game on a positive note to press hard on their opponents. Aizawl midfield pass-master David Rinmuana who was introduced in the playing XI after suffering a minor injury proved vital for the home side as the former captain earned a penalty when he was brought down in the box by the Kyrgyzstan defender Shumeiko in the 24th minute.
Yugo Kobayashi stepped up and he calmly slotted the ball in the back of the net to notch up his third goal of the season.
Chennai City FC, who stunned the Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan before holding Shillong Lajong in a chilly weather, did little to halt Aizawl’s free-flowing game and key player Soosairaj hardly could make any impact on Aizawl’s defence.
David again put the sword to Chennai’s heart as he scored Aizawl’s second goal in the 32nd minute. David’s shot from just outside the box hit the woodwork after a huge deflection, Chennai goalkeeper Poljanec dived the right way but the ball ricocheted off his arm to the goal.
V. Soundarajan made two substitutions right after the second half began as Shaji Antony and Beautin Antony replaced Shaji and Alexander Jesuraj to balance the play in their favour but the substitutes could not produce any trickery in favour of the away side. David was stretchered off just before the hour mark but Chennai could not master any passes in Aizawl’s box.
Vanspaul’s shot from inside the box flew away form Avilash Paul’s goal and Junior’s powerful shot towards the end of the game was parried away by Paul.
To add much woes to the visitors camp, Chennai’s captain Soosairaj was kept quiet throughout the game by Dinliana and Chennai found it hard to find the net without the influence of their skipper.
Menezes’ boys tried to hurl more in the dying embers of the game but the third goal eluded them finally.
Aizawl will now host East Bengal which is touted to be an emotional homecoming for Khalid Jamil who steered the Highlanders to lift the silverware last season.
With nine points from 10 games, Chennai City FC have settled the eighth spot on the table whereas Aizawl FC are two places above having garnered four points more with three matches in hand.