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Chencho goal gives RoundGlass Punjab a crucial win against Aizawl

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RoundGlass Punjab 1 (Chencho Gyeltshen 53’)AIFF Media Team

AIZAWL: RoundGlass Punjab got back on level terms with leaders Sreenidi Deccan in the points table when they defeated Aizawl FC 1-0 in the Hero I-League 2022-23 game at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Aizawl on Monday, February 13, 2023.

Chencho Gyeltshen’s solo run early in the second half which resulted in the only goal of the match, was enough for RoundGlass Punjab to hand Aizawl FC their second defeat at home. A win for the Warriors also means they now have 37 points, the same as leaders Sreenidhi Deccan, who are currently in first place due to their goal difference.

RoundGlass Punjab started the game well but adopted a cautious approach. Forwards including captain Luka Majcen, Juan Mera and Chencho Gyeltshen pressed the rival goalmouth time and again, and the Slovenian and Bhutanese went close to scoring positions in the first 20 minutes. Majcen tried to catch the goalkeeper Vikram Lahkbir Singh from his own half but his strike lacked power, while Chencho’s attempts were twice saved by the home custodian.

R Ramdinthara came closest for the hosts in the 14th minute.Following a cross from Matias Veron, Ramdinthara sent a looping header toward the goal but a diving effort from the Punjab custodian Kiran Chemjong saved the situation. In the first half injury time, the Aizawl captain Lalchhawnkima had a chance to break the deadlock but was off target with his header following a corner kick taken by Khawlhring Lalmalsawma.

Aizawl came into the second period all guns blazing. A minute into the half, Henry Kisekka needed a simple tap-in to score, but Punjab’s Hmingthanmawia cleared the ball away with his last-ditch effort. Two minutes later, the Ugandan had another chance following a cross from the right wing but failed to keep his header on target.

In the 49th minute, Ramdinthara skied his shot from inside the box and four minutes later, RoundGlass Punjab took the lead much against the run of play. Off a counter-attack, Chencho received the ball in the midfield and charged towards the opponents’ goal. The Bhutanese forward then entered the box before finishing to break the deadlock.

Following the goal, it was the visitors who saw better of the exchanges and Majcen hit the post with his low shot from outside the box. Caetano Pinho, the head coach of Aizawl, introduced Ivan Veras and K Lalrinfela as the People’s Club charged for an equaliser. Lalramsanga took a free kick in the 77th minute, but it was comfortably saved by goalkeeper Chemjong. The introduction of Lalrinfela nearly paid off in the 88th minute. The substitute rifled a shot from the right and it almost deceived Chemjong, but the goalkeeper recovered to make the save.

The final minutes of the game saw waves of attack from the home team. However, the Warriors defended with resilience and walked off with the crucial three points in their charge for the title.