I-League: Gritty Arrows beat Aizawl 2-1

Indian Arrows on Tuesday recorded their second win of the 2020-21 I-League as they beat Aizawl FC 2-1 at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan.

Parthib Gogoi’s early strike for Indian Arrows was cancelled out by a wonder goal from Malsawmtluanga. Lalchhanhima Sailo then scored to put the Arrows ahead in the 36th minute with a goal that ultimately proved to be the winner. Arrows goalkeeper Syed Zahid Hussain Bukhari, in inspired form, made some crucial saves in the second half to help the young guns in maintaining their lead.

Aizawl wasted little time in formalities and played their usual possession-based style of football. Coming on the back of a 1-0 win over NEROCA, Yan Law’s team played with confidence and created goal-scoring chances in the opening minutes of the match. In the ninth minute, a well-worked move that saw Brandon release a threatening ball into the Arrows’ box was cleared with acumen.

Although Aizawl FC kept hold of the ball for much of the half, they fell behind in the 11th minute courtesy of a beautiful Parthib Gogoi goal. A deflected shot found Gogoi inside the box and the nimble-footed forward curled the ball into the back of the net with an outside-of-the-boot shot, as the Indian Arrows led 1-0.

Unfazed despite conceding the goal, Aizawl FC kept dominating possession and kept inching towards the Arrows’ net. Their efforts reaped dividends in the 22nd minute when Malsawmtluanga produced a sensational finish from outside of the box to bring the team back on level terms. The midfielder had ample space in front of him and with the Arrows defence’s hasty tackles, saw an opportunity to find the net from a distance. He rocketed a shot from distance to leave Zahid Husain with no reply, as the ball crashed into the bottom right corner.

There was another twist in the tale yet to come. Despite Aizawl FC looking like the dominant side, Lalchhanhima Sailo was found by an accurate cross inside the box. The forward controlled it with ease and smashed it into the top corner with his left foot to hand the lead back to the Indian Arrows.

After the scoreline read 2-1 in the Indian Arrows’ favour at half-time, Aizawl FC upped the ante. Although Law’s team are mathematically safe from relegation, the Mizoram-based club, playing for pride, left no stone unturned to find the equaliser.

But for all their possession, chances were at a premium as their forwards were seldom supplied with accurate through balls from the midfield. Arrows held on and the scoreline read 2-1 in their favour at full time.