Aizawl FC stunned East Bengal 3-2 after a sublime strike by super-sub Mapuia in the I-League on Saturday.
Mapuia’s 83rd minute strike helped former champions Aizawl FC win their first game of the season. Mapuia had been on the pitch for just seven minutes before he scored.
Zikahi Dodoz put the hosts ahead in the 25th minute, before Jobby Justin equalised in the 63rd for the visitors.
Spanish defender Borja Gomez put East Bengal ahead in the 70th minute, but his effort was cancelled out three minutes later by Joe Zoherliana.
Finally, Mapuia sealed the issue in his team’s favour with a strike off an assist by Dodoz.
Both coaches made a few changes to the starting eleven. Raikhan brought back Gurpreet in goal. He played Joe Zoherliana in defence and David in midfield, in place of Govin Singh and Duata, respectively.
East Bengal had Ubaid in goal in place of Rakshit Dagar – Spanish coach Alejandro Menendez might rue this move in hindsight. He also got in Chullova and Brandon in place of Samad Ali Mallick and Yami Longwah.
Chennai City beats Neroca 2-1
Table toppers Chennai City FC extended their lead to a massive eight points over their closest rivals after a hard-fought 2-1 win at home against Manipur’s Neroca FC.
At Coimbatore’s Nehru stadium, Chennai yet again rode on the exalted performance of their Spanish recruits, with goals from centre-back Roberto Eslava and midfielder Nestor Jesus in either half to register their fifth win in six matches and remain unbeaten. Neroca got one back from Singham Subhash Singh but it was not enough on the day.
The win takes Chennai to 16 points from six games at the top while Neroca remained in the sixth position on the table with five points.
Nestor Jesus registered his third goal of the season. The four Spaniards of Chennai have scored 11 of their team’s 15 goals in the season.
Both coaches, Akbar Nawas of Chennai and Manuel Fraile of Neroca, made two changes to the starting line-up from the previous game. For the hosts, Pravitto Raju played in place of Mashoor Shereef while for Neroca, Singham Subash Singh made his way back into the starting eleven at the expense of Paite.