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I-League 2019-20: Wasteful Mohun Bagan held to a goalless draw by resilient Aizawl FC

14:36 GMT+4 30/11/2019
Aizawl FC vs Mohun Bagan
Mohun Bagan drop two points as they fail to capitalize on their first-half chances...

Mohun Bagan started their I-League season on a disappointing note as they played out a stalemate against Aizawl FC at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Mizoram on Saturday afternoon. The Maroon and Green  brigade created a host of chances in the first half but were not clinical enough to find the back of the net. 

Kibu Vicuna fielded a full-strength team to start the I-League campaign on a winning note. Fran Moarante and Daniel Cyrus were the two centre backs while Joseba Beitia slotted in at the centre of the park.  while Julen Colinas and Suhair VP had the responsibility of leading the lines for the Mariners. 

On the other hand, Stanley Rosario, head coach of Aizawl fielded only two overseas players in Richard Kassaga and Alfred Jaryan. The rest of the berths were filled up by local players including a few prominent names like William Lalnunfela, who had a brief stint with Bagan, and Isak Vanlalruatfela, who previously played for Bengaluru FC U-18. 

It was a lively start to the match as Mohun Bagan started dominating proceedings right from the first whistle. Their forwards combined well in the attacking third and were quick to expose Aizawl's defensive frailties. Julen Colinas almost scored in the second minute of the game when he was set up by VP Suhair with a defence-splitting through ball. Minutes later Colinas returned the favour to his teammate,  but the striker shot straight at Aizawl keeper Lalremruata who made a string of saves throughout the first half.

Colinas continued to be in the thick of things as he drew out Aizawl's custodian from his line and then squared the ball towards Gonzalez. But the Spaniard's goal-bound shot was blocked by Joe Zoherliana to keep the scoreline unchanged. Each time Bagan raided Aizawl's fort, it seemed that their resistance would break. But Rosario's men were putting their bodies on the line to restrict their opponent from drawing first blood. 

Aizawl suddenly sprang to life in the closing minutes of the first half and created a couple of goal-scoring chances. William Lalnunfela beat the offside trap and showed a clean pair of heels to Cyrus but could not keep his shot on target. Rochharzela also wasted a golden opportunity to put his team in front as he allowed Debjit Majumdar the time to come out of his line and smother his effort.

Things started to look brighter for Aizawl in the second half as the hosts saw more off the ball. But lack of creativity in the attacking third was not helping their cause. 

On the hour-mark, Vicuna brought on Salva Chammoro to break the deadlock.  But the striker did not have the desired impact. During the closing stages, Bagan used the flanks and put in several crosses but their deliveries lacked the quality to trouble Aizawl's defence. 

Aizawl will next lock horns against NEROCA on December 6 whereas the Kolkata giants will return to action against Churchill Brothers two days later at home.