AIZAWL: Aizawl FC and Mohun Bagan shared the spoils in an I-League 2017/18 clash played at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Aizawl on Thursday.
An eventful encounter which saw a penalty and a red-card ended in a 1-1 draw, with the result taking the two team’s respective point tally to 15 and 17 respectively in 10 and 11 fixtures.
Aizawl remained sixth on the I-League standings, while Mohun Bagan leapfrogged Shillong Lajong into fourth place.
There was a good tempo to the encounter with both sides signalling their intent to play attacking football.
Mohun Bagan looked the livelier of the two sides throughout. The energetic Akram Moghrabi had the first real opening after seven minutes when he broke away through midfield and fired a good low shot that was deflected wide for a corner by the scrambling home defense.
The response was a quick one from the hosts as Leonce Dodoz spun and shot over the bar.
Just before the 20th minute mark, Akram again caused some panic in the home box, but his cross was wasted by Nikhil Kadam.
However, Mohun Bagan were then dealt a huge blow after 32 minutes when Dipanda Dicka, the hero of Kolkata Derby, was forced off with an injury. He was replaced by Manandeep Singh.
Aizawl, meanwhile, continued to show glimpses of their attacking prowess in the first half, but they were let down by their decision making.
That proved to be the trend for the rest of the first half, as the sides went into break goalless.
Aizawl came on very strongly the second half, creating a lot of chances but Dodoz and Andrei Ionescu failed to convert.
Mohun Bagan, on the other hand, began to play defensive football and Aizawl ran at them, regularly firing in crosses which their strikers were unable to convert.
Nonetheless, Aizawl’s persistent efforts finally bore fruit in the 73th minute when Lalthathanga slotted home from Dodoz’s pass.
Mohun Bagan, though, did not just lie down and die. They’re a feisty bunch and they rallied back to equalize five minutes later with Manandeep converting from the spot after Aizawl keeper Avilash Paul brought down Akram inside the box.
Thereafter, Mohun Bagan pushed forward for the winning goal. For the last few minutes of the game they even had a 10-men Aizawl after referee gave a straight red to Alfred Jaryan following his challenge on Akram but Mohun Bagan failed to seize the opportunity and the game ended in a 1-1 draw.