I-League: Aizawl beat Minerva Punjab 1-0
Aizawl, Jan 13 (IANS) Hosts Aizawl FC defeated Minerva Punjab FC 1-0 thanks to a last-gasp own goal by defender Loveday Okechukwu in an I-League second round football match here on Friday.
The match remained goalless until the fourth minute of added time when when Loveday miscued his header to score an own goal from a corner taken by Aizawl’s Mahmoud Al-Amna.
Aizawl approached the match on the back of a 1-1 draw against East Bengal while Minerva played out a 0-0 draw with Chennai City FC.
Aizawl defender Lalruatthara showed his worth in the match negating Minerva’s attacking threat throughout the match.
They were the superior side in the first half but failed to penetrate Minerva’s defence. Aizawl forward Alfred Jaryan’s shot was saved by Minerva goalkeeper Ravi Kumar.
Syrian international Mahmoud Al-Amna challenged Ravi Kumar minutes later with a shot close range shot which was blocked.
Jayesh Rane’s shot hit the goal bar minutes before the first half ended, failing to give the home team a much-desired lead.
Aizawl pursued the elusive goal in the second half began. Nigerian forward Bayi Kamo missed a good chance to give his team a lead when he failed to convert a cross by Lalruatthara just three minutes into the second half.
Aizawl midfielder Albert Zohmingmawia missed another clear chance with a wayward shot.
Ravi Kumar was replaced by Kamaljit Singh with an injury sustained after a collision with Bayi Kamo.
The decisive moment came in the added time when Mahmoud Al-Amna took a corner kick which was headed into their own goal by the lanky Loveday Okechukwu.
Aizawl coach Khalid Jamil expressed his exuberance at their victory, “We controlled the match right from the beginning, and deserve the three points.”
Minerva coach Surinder Singh accepted their defeat: “Both victories and defeats are part of football. My boys worked really hard, and I am proud of their performance.”