The final day of the Hero I-League saw a cracking double-header being played at 2 PM in Aizawl and Imphal simultaneously. While at Aizawl, it were the hosts Aizawl FC who emerged victorious against Churchill Brothers FC Goa with a 2-1 win, Neroca FC had to suffer a 2-3 loss against a dominant Real Kashmir FC in Imphal.
The game between Aizawl FC and Churchill Brothers FC Goa saw the visitors draw first blood through Willis Plaza in the 4th minute. An unfortunate own goal in the 42nd minute from Hussain Eldor of Churchill Brothers FC Goa saw the equalizer for Aizawl FC. Aizawl then took the lead in the 87th minute through Kromah who made no mistakes in converting a penalty that he had earned for the team to wrap up the game with a win a few minutes later. Aizawl FC goalkeeper Lalawmpuia was adjudged the hero of the match.
The Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Aizwal played host to the game between Aizawl Fc and Churchill Brothers FC Goa. The hosts began the game in their traditional red kit while visitors Churchill Brothers FC Goa played in sky-blue.
Churchill started on an attacking note putting pressure on the home side right from the first minute. They were penetrating deep quite easily into the Aizawl FC defence and the results soon showed when Churchill Brothers FC Goa drew first blood as early as the 4th minute. Willis Plaza scored his 21st goal of the season through a beautiful cross from Nicholas Fernandes to take the scoreboard to 0-1 to Churchill Brothers FC Goa’s favour.
Churchill never really stopped attacking, thereafter, constantly trying to extend their lead, but full marks to Aizwal FC defenders Richard Kassaga and Govin Singh and goalkeeper for not allowing Churchill Brothers to score.
Aizawl FC looked settled by the half-hour mark into the first half and started creating chances through the combination of Issac, Lalrinchhanna constantly supplying to Kromah and Lalkhawpuimawia but Churchill’s defence was always on point disallowing the hosts to come close to any scoring opportunity.
Aizawl who were desperately looking for an equalizer finally managed to get an equalizer in the 42nd minute through an own goal from Churchill’s Hussain Eldor. What was interesting about this goal was the pressure that Aizawl FC created on Churchill’s defence when an outstanding cross from Lalrinchhanna to Lalkhawpuimawia was hastily interrupted by Eldor, but rather than clearing the ball safely, it ended up straight into the goal.
The game thereafter was an equal contest from both the teams bringing in a close to the first half with the scorecard reading 1-1.
The second half between Aizawl FC and Churchill Brothers FC Goa began with the hosts leading the attack to find a lead. Aizawl FC forwards Kromah and Lalkhawpuimawia kept the pressure up on Churchill Brothers but a combination of great defending and goalkeeping from the visitors ensured that Aizawl do not find a way to the back of the net.
Churchill Brothers, on the other hand, started with their attacks on the counter initially and found their way into the box as well, but lack of a good finish saw both the teams tied at 1-1 for a major part of the second half. Aizawl FC finally found their lead when Kromah made no mistake converting a penalty to hand Aizawl FC a 2-1 lead in the 87th minute.
Churchill Brothers FC Goa, thereafter, tried to restore parity but it was already too late. Aizawl FC, with this win, finished their 12th Hero I-League campaign in the 7th place with 24 points while Churchill Brothers FC Goa finished their campaign three places above with 34 points.