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Hero I-league: Aizawl FC 2-1 Rajasthan United

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Aizawl FC 2 (R Ramdinthara 71’, Ivan Veras 90+7’)
Rajasthan United FC 1 (Aidar Mambetaliev 17’)

AIZAWL: Aizawl FC moved to the top half of the table after recording a 2-1 win against Rajasthan United in their Hero I-League 2022–23 game at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium on Thursday, February 9, 2023.

The People’s Club looked all set to lose three points at one point in time, but they suddenly woke up to hammer two goals in the last 20 minutes to pick up the victory. After an early goal was scored by Rajasthan United’s Aidar Mambetaliev, Aizawal’s R Ramdinthara scored the equaliser in the 71st minute before substitute and debutant Ivan Veras headed in the winner in injury time.

Aizawl started the better of the two teams and went close to opening the score in the ninth minute. Khawlhring Lalmalsawma received the ball on the right before crossing it for R Lalthanmawia, who headed it towards the goal, in a move started by their captain Lalchhawnkima in his own half. It, however, lacked power and was easily collected by the Rajasthan United custodian, Vishal Joon.

Aizawl continued their early dominance but Lalchhanhima Sailo gave away a free kick in the 17th minute, which led to the first goal. From the set piece, Rajasthan’s Otabek Zokirov crossed the ball into the middle of the 18-yard area and Aidar Mambetaliev, who got away from his marker Akito Saito, placed the ball into the bottom corner.

Four minutes later, Sailo had a chance to redeem himself when the Mizo forward received a through pass from the midfield and with just the goalkeeper to beat, Sailo took his time to take his shot but was soon closed down by the goalscorer Mambetaliev, who eventually blocked the shot.

The Aizawl defence had a hard time dealing with the pace of the Rajasthan attack. By the end of the first half, defenders Lalchhawnkima, Saito and Zodingliana Ralte, all received yellow cards in their attempts to stop the Rajasthan forwards.

The second half began on a fast note. Aizawl FC head coach Caetano Pinho brought in Matias Veron for Sailo as the hosts charged for the equaliser. Rajasthan United, who had shifted to a counter-attack strategy, went close to doubling their lead twice. In the 52nd minute, captain Lalliansanga Renthlei’s shot went wide , while Zokirov pulled off a great save off a shot by Lalmuansanga from around 30 yards.

For the hosts, Lalthanmawia hit the post with his header following a corner kick in the 63rd minute and seven minutes later, R Ramdinthara brought the People’s Club back into the game. From the left, Lalramsanga crossed the ball in the six-yard area, and it was met by Ramdinthara, who nudged the ball at the far post and into the back of the net.

After the scores were level, it became an end-to-end affair and with just a minute of regulation time left, substitute Ivan Veras nearly put the hosts in the lead. The Belarusian received the ball inside the box and took a shot that was off target.

Veras was back in the thick of things, deep into the injury period. He found the ball near the penalty spot following a cross from the right and this time, the forward made no mistake to send his header into the back of the net.