I-League 2023-24: Aizawl FC end off Shillong Lajong's unbeaten run in style

IANS Photo

IANS Photo

SHILLONG, DECEMBER 10 (IANS): Aizawl FC capitalised on errors committed by Shillong Lajong FC to notch up a convincing 3-0 win at the Polo Grounds in Shillong on Sunday, ending their winning run in an I-League 2023-24.

Lalrinzuala Lalbaknia, R. Ramdinthara and Joe Zoherliana scored a goal each For Aizawl FC.

Aizawl FC are the in-form team of late and they made the most of their winning momentum on Sunday, brushing aside Lajong's challenge with ease. The loss also meant that Lajong's unbeaten run came to an abrupt end despite the side enjoying more than 70% possession in the match.

With Shillong Lajong and Aizawl FC fighting for the I-League title, it was a crucial match for both sides. However, the defeat would also come as a setback to Lajong's title hopes. Lajong are currently in the fourth spot with 16 points from nine matches. They have won four games and drew four times.

Aizawl, on the other hand, would get a huge boost after bagging full points in the away match. They have climbed to the second spot behind Mohammedan Sporting with 17 points from nine matches, including five wins, two draws, and as many losses.

Aizawl were set on course for the win by Lalrinzuala Lalbiaknia. The star forward has been in his element this I-League season and he proved his worth once more when he scored the first goal against Lajong in the fourth minute of the match.

A long ball was played towards Aizawl midfielder R Lalthanmawia from the deep. However, Lajong defender Kynsailang Khongsit intervened and tried to clear the ball. His header was poor and it landed at the feet of Lalbiaknia, who shot home his ninth goal of the tournament. The strike also made him the joint-top scorer of the league along with Gokulam Kerala's Alejandro Sanchez Lopez.

Aizawl doubled their advantage in the 17th minute. A through ball released Lalthanmawia on the left and the winger delivered a beautifully weighted cross across the Lajong defence.

R. Ramdinthara made a beautifully timed run into the Lajong penalty box before connecting with the ball sweetly and finding the back of the net.

Aizawl were content with their lead and allowed Lajong to dominate the proceedings. But they ensured that their defence held firm and negated Lajong's attacks easily.

Aizawl extended their lead in the 57th minute when a bungle from Lajong goalkeeper Bishal Lama gifted them their third goal. Lalthanmawia was again in the thick of action as he curled in a corner from the right.

Joe Zoherliana evaded his marker and headed down the ball, which bounced awkwardly in front of Lama. The goalkeeper, who should have collected the ball comfortably, failed to react swiftly and the ball crossed the goal line.

Lajong tried their best to stage a fightback, but Aizawl were able to preserve their lead and log a win.