Aizawl FC blitzed past Mohammedan SC 3-0 in a dominant display of attacking prowess in the I-League 2020-21 at the YVBK Stadium in Kolkata on Thursday. A Malsawmtluanga free-kick in the first half, coupled with strikes by Lalremsanga and Lalliansanga in the second, led the people's club to a dominant win over the Black Panthers, in a match where Mohammedan were unable to create many goal-scoring chances.
In what was a cagey half where both teams nullified each other in midfield and chances were at a premium, Yan Law's Aizawl FC started the game with their usual style of attacking football, while keeping possession and rotating the ball around the opponent's penalty box.
On the 11th minute, Brandon Vanlalremdika's header off a Lalliansanga free-kick came close to handing Aizawl FC the lead, but the opposition goalkeeper's quick reactions saved the day. However, five minutes later, Mohammedan's Priyant Singh was beaten by a moment of sheer brilliance.
Malsawmtluanga's swirling free-kick from 25 yards out left the Priyant in absolute disarray as the ball curved and crashed against the bottom left corner to hand Aizawl FC the lead out of nowhere. That moment of magic is perhaps what the 'People's Club' was missing and shortly after, spurred, they once again attacked in droves.
A dominant display of keeping possession around the box almost paid the dividends on the 28th minute, but Alfred Jaryan's shot from inside the box was blocked heroically by the Mohammedan defence. Meanwhile, for Mohammedan, the problems up front continued. Unable to create chances and new signing Pedro Manzi often left isolated, the Black Panthers could hardly create a clear goal-scoring opportunity in the entire half.
Aizawl FC should have been two goals up going into the half-time, but Lalliansanga's shot from inside the box, shortly before time, rattled the bar and went out as the people's club led by a solitary goal to nil at the break.
Lalliansanga was once again unlucky with his strike, seconds into the second half. This time, his glorious effort from outside the box crashed against the bar, once again, and went out of play. With Aizawl dominating since the beginning of the match, Mohammedan had made substitutions at the break to freshen up the proceedings.
On the 56th minute, Aizawl were once again provided an opportunity to double their lead, but this time as well Mohammedan survived. Ramhlunchhunga dribbled inside the box and instead of shooting from a tight angle, passed it to an onrushing Brandon. Brandon's left-footed effort however swirled inches over the bar.
Like the first half, the second also needed a moment of sheer brilliance for Aizawl FC to double their lead. That moment came in the 64th minute when Lalremsanga provided a strike for the highlight reels. From the left side of the inside of the box, the forward saw a narrow opening and capitalised it to its fullest, as his shot nutmegged Hira Mondal, left the opposition goalkeeper wrong-footed and slammed into the bottom left corner to double Aizawl's lead.
A few minutes later, Aizawl FC made it three. This time Lalliansanga headed home from close range and found the net after Lalmalsawma's delicious cross beat the entire Mohammedan defence, finding Lalliansanga at the back post.
Leading 3-0, Aizawl FC committed men to defence and saw out the remaining time to grab their third win of the season - this win took them to 12 points of 8 matches, two points clear of fifth-placed TRAU. Meanwhile, trouble continues to brew for Mohammedan SC as the Black Panthers have only won twice this season and could find themselves in the bottom half of the table by the end of this round's action.