Aizawl FC piled on the misery on bottom-placed Shillong Lajong FC, when they put four past the visitors at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Aizawl, with Donboklang Lyngdoh’s consolation injury time goal doing little to gloss over a torrid campaign. With this result, Shillong Lajong have now been relegated from the 12th I-League.
Aizawl FC’s Liberian striker Ansumanah Kromah scored his seventh and eighth league goals while Mapuia helped himself to his sixth with Isak also getting onto the scoresheet late in the second half. Donbok then displayed the ‘never stop attacking’ mindset of Shillong Lajong FC’s young group aptly in injury time, with a classy finish.
With 21 points from 19 games, Aizawl FC now give themselves a realistic chance of finishing two better than their current eighth position.
Both coaches Stanley Rosario of Aizawl FC and Alison Kharsyntiew of Shillong Lajong FC made three changes each to their starting line-ups. Aizawl brought Gurpreet back in goal while Shillong Lajong FC started with Samuel Lalmuanpuia and Sheen Stevenson up front.
Aizawl FC dominated from the beginning. In the 28th minute, from a wonderful Isak cross from the right saw a header from Hmingthan Mawia blocked by Kenstar Kharsong in the Shillong Lajong FC defence.
In the 40th minute, however, Kenstar was adjudged to have brought down Kromah inside the box and referee Ibungo Meetei immediately pointed to the spot. Kromah converted without fuss.
The second half began as the first with Aizawl FC having the better possession and purpose with ideas. Mapuia’s advent in the 64th minute brought even more drive in the Aizawl FC attack.
Isak had a good chance to score in the 70th minute itself when the ball fell favourably for him near the top of the box but his volley went well over.
Paul picked up the first booking of the game in the 75th minute for Aizawl FC, a reflection of the intensity displayed on the day.
Mapuia, after missing a golden chance to double the lead for his side in the 76th minute, when keeper Chalieu did well to take him wide and thwart him in a one on one situation, did in fact, achieve his goal in the 81st minute.
It was Isak’s ball again into the box from the right, which fell invitingly for Mapuia who made no mistake to head home.
The third came two miutes later as Kromah got his second of the game. A Kenstar backpass to Chalieu went horribly wrong for the young keeper, as the Liberian poacher made him pay. It was Kromah’s eighth goal of the 12th I-League season.
Isak finally got a well-deserved goal for himself and rounded up the tally with a strike after a brilliant solo square run along the box and then unleashing from the top of the box to bulge the Shillong Lajong FC net with a minute left of regulation time.
Shillong Lajong FC’s first shot on target was affected seconds later by Samuel Lalmuanpuia and Shillong finally had something to show in the third minute of injury time as another substitute Donbok, broke away from his marker inside the box on the left, following a lovely ball from Sheen, to finish sweetly past Gurpreet in the left corner.
Shillong Lajong FC have conceded 53 in the league but many of their 22 scored have been a joy to watch. Aizawl FC, meanwhile, keep improving under Stanley Rozario and it should help them in their key campaigns ahead.