Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], March 16 (ANI): The All India Football Federation's (AIFF) developmental side, the Indian Arrows, showed grit, determination, and fighting spirit in their 2-1 win over Aizawl FC on Tuesday.
Parthib Gogoi's early strike was cancelled out by a wonder goal from Malsawmtluanga, but the Arrows showcased their never-say-die attitude as Lalchhanhima Sailo's strike in the 36th minute proved to be the difference between the two sides.
Goalkeeper Syed Zahid Hussain Bukhari, in inspired form, made some crucial saves in the second half to help the young guns maintain their lead.
Although Aizawl FC had kept hold of the ball for much of the half, they fell behind in the 11th minute courtesy of a beautiful Parthib Gogoi goal.
A deflected shot found Gogoi inside the box and the nimble-footed forward curled the ball into the back of the net with an outside-of-the-boot shot, as the Indian Arrows led 1-0.
Unfazed despite conceding the goal, Aizawl FC kept dominating possession and kept inching towards the Arrows' net. Their efforts reaped dividend in the 22nd minute when Malsawmtluanga produced a sensational finish from outside of the box to bring the team back on level terms.
The midfielder with ample space in front of him and the Arrows defence's hasty tackles saw an opportunity to find the net from distance. He rocketed a shot from a distance to leave Zahid Husain with no reply, as the ball crashed into the bottom right corner.
There was another twist in the tale yet to come. Despite Aizawl FC looking like the dominant side, Lalchhanhima Sailo was found by an accurate cross inside the box. The forward controlled it with ease and smashed it into the top corner with his left foot to hand the lead back to the Indian Arrows.
After the scoreline read 2-1 in the Indian Arrows' favour at half-time, Aizawl FC upped the ante. Although Yan Law's team is mathematically safe from relegation, the Mizoram-based club, playing for pride, left no stone unturned to find the equaliser.
Aizawl FC tried their level best to breach the Arrows' citadel and made attacking changes as well to at least salvage a point, but to no avail. The Indian Arrows held on to their slight advantage and defeated Aizawl FC as the full-time scoreline read 2-1 in their favour. (ANI)