Aizawl FC and TRAU FC shared the spoils after a 1-1 draw in their I-League match at the picturesque Rajiv Gandhi Stadium on Tuesday.
A goal in each half by Sagolsem Bikash Singh (18th minute) and K Lalrinfela (48th) for TRAU and Aizawl, respectively, meant that the two sides went home with a point each.
At the GMC Bambolim Athletic Stadium in Goa, Rajasthan United FC picked up all three points in their season opener against Churchill Brothers, registering a 2-1 win.
Substitute Britto PM’s (75th minute) second-half strike proved to be the decisive goal of the game after Melroy Assisi’s header (29th) was cancelled out by Churchill’s Abdoulaye Sane (45+1) at the end of the first half.
Rajasthan defender Hardik Bhatt was sent off towards the end of the match after a second bookable offence.
The first match was a fixture that TRAU have dominated in recent years, it was a different story this time.
The first half started with Aizawl FC on the front foot, as they played with a high tempo in the opposition half.
New Argentine recruit Matias Veron was the focal point of most of their attacks. However, the home side was not able to capitalise on their attacking opportunities.
TRAU began to grow in the game after the quarter-hour mark and managed to get the lead when they caught Aizawl on the break.
With only two defenders manning the back line for Aizawl, an onrushing Nana Poku had two options in the form of Bikash Singh and Baoringdao Bodo to pass to. He chose the former who finished from a very tight angle to score for the away side.
Three minutes later Aizawl got onto the attack after the restart as Henry Kisekka found Ramdinthara, whose shot was saved on the near post by TRAU’s custodian Bishorjit Singh.
Gerson Vieira had an influential first half for TRAU as he won almost every midfield battle, and his quick progressive passing helped the Red Pythons build multiple counter-attacks.
The first half ended with Aizawl making multiple moves around the opponent’s box but TRAU’s defence stood firm.
Aizawl came flying out of the blocks in the second half and found the equaliser three minutes after the restart when TRAU keeper Bishorjit misjudged Lalrinfela’s shot that spun right in front of him and went into the goal.
Veron had a good opportunity for Aizawl a little after the hour mark when he made some space for himself and pulled the trigger from outside the box, but his shot went just wide.
However, the Argentine soon received his marching orders, when a bad tackle on Bikash Singh earned him his second booking of the match.
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