It came down to the drama of penalties in the finale of the McDowell’s No.1 Soda Mizoram Premier League (MPL) Season 7 as Aizawl FC kept their nerve to lift their third Mizoram Premier League trophy.
Lalrinchhana Tochhawng stepped up to seal his spot kick breaking the hearts of his former club to make it 5-4 in the tie-breaker which sees the Reds of Aizawl lift their first MPL trophy in three years.
Chhinga Veng FC, looking to emulate their opponents with their second consecutive MPL trophy had to make do Gatch Arthur Diomande who was instrumental in their set up for the latter part of the season.
Aizawl FC fielded a strong line up featuring the likes of Lalkhawpuimawia and Alfred Jaryan who are regulars in their I-League fixtures.
The opening stages were an even match up with the defending champions looking more likely to break the deadlock. A couple promising build up plays ended lacking in the final third but save for one moment when MS Dawngliana broke free from the left only for his strike to go just inches wide.
Aizawl FC grew into the game as the minutes went on and they brought the prerequisite magic to break the deadlock through the legs of their captain. Alfred Jaryan received the ball on the edge of the box and executed a perfect strike onto the top corner of the net on the 39th minute to give Aizawl FC the lead at halftime.
Chhinga Veng FC shook things up during halftime with the introduction of Lalromawia and Lalrammawia and it seemed to add more attacking verve into Chhinga Veng FC’s play.
Aizawl FC looked to slow down play with their physicality but their opponents tried to exploit little spaces behind the backline and almost came out successful on a couple of occasions.
Chhinga Veng FC eventually found the net on the 73rd minute when a freekick delivery from Lalrinchhana was met by MS Dawngliana who showed good movement inside the box. Dawngtea failed to control the ball but knocked it right onto a plate for Lalromawia who found the net with an explosive strike.
Aizawl FC had a couple of chances to score again at the end when Isaac forced a save from Zothanmawia just minutes before he inadvertently almost found the net from a dangerous cross towards the goal mouth.
It was Aizawl FC who played the aggressor in extra time with second half substitute Ansumanah Kromah almost scoring a beautiful goal from the edge of the left hand side box. Rochharzela was also guilty of some wayward finishing after being set up by the lively Isaac.
The match came to the lottery of penalties in the end with MS Dawngliana, Lalmuansanga, Lalromawia and Sanga all netting for Chhinga Veng FC.
Aizawl FC’s Paul Ramfangzauva had his shot saved by Zothanmawia for their second spot kick after Rochharzela finished off his kick. Captain Alfred and Lalruatfela followed up finding the net in their subsequent strikes.
Lalrinchhana stepped up for the winner for Chhinga Veng FC only to be denied by Aizawl FC’s Lalawmpuia. Ansumanah Kromah then leveled the score at 4-4 for Aizawl FC.
Hmingthanmawia struck the crossbar in the first kick of sudden death and Aizawl FC’s Lalrinchhana Tochhawng stepped up to give his team the trophy by netting their final spot kick.
Champion: Aizawl FC, Rs 6,00,000/- Trophy
Runners Up: Chhinga Veng FC, Rs 3,30,000/-
Third: Mizoram Police FC, Rs 2, 20,000/-
Fourth: Chanmari FC, Rs 1,60,0000/-
Fifth: Electric Veng FC, Rs 1,35,000/-
Sixth: Chawnpui FC, Rs 1,10,000/-
Seventh: Ramhlun North FC, Rs 85,000/-
Eighth: Bethlehem Vengthlang FC, Rs 60,000/-
Fair Play: Aizawl FC, Rs 20,000/-
Best Player: Alfred Kemah Jaryan, Aizawl FC, Rs 5,000/-
Top Scorer: Lalfakzuala, Mizoram Police FC, 8 goals, Rs 5,000/-
Best Midfielder: Alfred Kemah Jaryan, Aizawl FC, Rs 5,000/-
Best Defender: PC Laldinpuia, Chhinga Veng FC, Rs 5,000/-
Best Goalkeeper: T. Zothanmawia, Chhinga Veng FC, Rs 5,000/-
Best forward: MS Dawngliana, Chhinga Veng FC, Rs 5,000/-
(Mizoram Football Association)