I-League: Gritty Aizawl FC has Mohun Bagan

AIZAWL: Mohun Bagan hoped to say the least before his I-League First match against Aizawl FC. But on Saturday at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, they could not pass in front of a brave Aizawl team that played with their hearts to win a goalless draw.

Mohun Bagan, who sent five foreigners from the beginning compared to the two of Aizawl, went on the offensive from the beginning. It was the third minute of the game and VP Suhair played the ball towards Julen Colinas. The Spaniard, with a defender who followed him, ran down the left wing and only had to beat the goalkeeper. But he shot away from the far post and passed to the diving goalie.

In the next minute, they won a corner kick but nothing came out. However, five minutes later, Bagan had his best chance of the day when Suhair received Joseba Beitia's ball just outside the penalty area. With no defenders around him, he faced one by one with Aizawl's goalkeeper, Lalremruata, but this time the man in the gloves came out of his blocks and made a brilliant save.

Apart from these early heroics, Lalremruata - playing his first match for Aizawl in the I-League - was impressive throughout the game and was declared man of the match for his efforts. Defend Richard Kassaga, who has played a vital role in Aizawl's performance in the Premier League Mizoram , continued with his form and handled the bottom line well.

But Alfred Jaryan, who played as a striker, did not click and, after about 20 minutes, went down to midfield and Aizawl began to enjoy possession. Despite the possession, they could not disturb Bagan's defense. In addition, they were poor in regards to the first touch and passes.

However, in the last minutes of the first half, Aizawl had two consecutive bright opportunities to take the lead, but to the dismay of the crowd, William Lalnunfela I lost both opportunities.

In the first instance, Lalnunfela picked up the ball outdoors and all he had to do was surround the goalkeeper and put it on the net. But he panicked and played the ball in the face of the goal. The second was a bit difficult. With the defender behind him, Lalnunfela received the ball within the six-yard area but played it directly to the goalkeeper.

After the break, Aizawl started from where they had left him and in the second minute Rochharzela hit the side net. Although they didn't have many opportunities after that, they played compact football. They sewed their passes well and did not panic. Players like Isak Vanlalruatfela and Lalhmangaihkima kept guessing Bagan's defenders and played intelligently in the midfield.

With nothing in his favor, Bagan's coach, Kibu Vicuña, brought Salva Chamorro instead of Francisco Morante, but even he couldn't do much against him. Mizoram side. Vicuña made two more changes after that, but it was all in vain.

In the last ten minutes, Bagan despaired and left in search of a goal. But it was not his day when Aizawl players held on.

Aizawl, on the other hand, played almost the entire game with the initial XI. With only under-19 players on the bench, coach Stanley Rozario did not risk making any changes. It was only in the additional time that he made two substitutions, but it was more to frustrate his opponents and it worked.