Ladnamawia Ralte scored the only goal of the game as Aizawl FC downed mighty East Bengal at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium at Aizawl on Monday to win 1-0, and thereby inflict the league-leaders’ first defeat of the season.
East Bengal, predictably, dominated possession for large parts of the contest and created enough chances to bag all three points from the game, but their lack of ruthlessness in the final third was punished by the spirited home side.
The Kolkata giants created their first clear-cut opportunity as early as the second minute of the game, when Wedson Enselme hit the post with his effort. East Bengal grew in confidence and continued to test Albino Gomes’ goal at will. Willis Plaza also came close to breaking the deadlock with a header from close range, which narrowly went off target.
While dealing with a slew of attacks from the East Bengal forward line, Aizawl’s luck seemed to be wearing thin when Lalrutthara limped off with an injury in the 34 minute.
Even after the interval, it was East Bengal who saw much of the ball. However, a slight change in strategy from Aizawl changed the course of the contest. There were more crosses into the box from the flanks for TP Rehenesh to deal with. Against the run of play, Ralte got to the end of Jayesh Rane’s pin-point delivery to head the first goal in.
With Plaza being replaced after suffering a niggle in the 65th minute, East Bengal lost some of their bite up front, despite pouring men forward in the final quarter of the game. Robin Singh yet again laboured to find the net. Gomes showed safe hands to thwart every East Bengal and help his side to a hard-earned win.
East Bengal lead the table but are level on points with arch-rivals Mohun Bagan, who have played one game less. The Mizoram-based side have leapfrogged to the third place, and lie only a point behind the Kolkata sides.
- Aizawl 1 (Ladnamawia Ralte) beat East Bengal 0.