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TRAU come back from behind to trounce Aizawl in northeastern derby

10:23 GMT 25/01/2020
Princewell Emeka TRAU
TRAU climb to third place after clinching their fourth win on the trot with 14 points from nine games...

TRAU defeated Aizawl FC 2-1 in an I-League encounter at the Khuman Lampak Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Although Aizawl opened the scoring through Rochharzela (22'), the hosts came back strongly with a goal in each half from Premjit Singh (27') and Krishananda Singh (66'). 

It was a tepid start to the match with both the teams taking a safety-first approach. But after the butterflies in the belly had settled down the league debutantes took the first initiative to test Aizawl's fort. 

In the 16th minute, Denechandra Meetei floated in a curling free-kick which was half-heartedly cleared by Aizawl's defense. The loose ball fell for Patrick Uche but the Nigerian's header crashed on the wrong side of the goal. 

Aizawl soon started getting off their defensive blocks and were attacking TRAU through the flanks. Roccharzela got an opportunity to score in the 19th minute but his lobbed shot went inches over the crossbar. 

Three minutes later he made amends of his previous error and scored the first of the match. Lunchhunga produced a perfectly weighted through ball and Abhishek Das' school-boy error in defense paved the way for Zela to shoot past Mithun Samanta in goal. 

After conceding TRAU showed more urgency in the attacking third and within five minutes they pierced Aizawl's defense. Uche's miscued shot was received by Premjit Singh inside the box and the young Manipuri after taking a touch to control slotted the ball past Hmunmawia to bring back TRAU in the match. Questions must be asked of Aizawl's centre backs as Premjit was not only left unmarked but also had the time and space to pick his spot. 

Aizawl's new recruit Matias Veron slowly started to put his imprint on the match with his deft touches and precise ball distribution. The Argentine could have even registered his name on the score sheet if his long-ranger had not sailed just wide off the woodwork in the 37th minute. 

The visitors could even have had their insurance goal before heading towards the tunnel thanks to Samanta under the sticks. The goalkeeper spilled a routine catch from a harmless free-kick but was fortunate enough that no white shirt had followed up to pounce on the rebound. 

Dimitriou's pep talk during half-time worked wonders for TRAU. Princewell Emeka who was hardly involved in the first-half was a completely changed player after the break. He showed streaks of individual brilliance to dribble past two Aizawl's defenders before firing a shot at goal which could have rippled the net but for Richard Kassaga who put his body on the line. 

The ball kept swinging from one end to another and just before the hour mark Zela should have scored his second. Abdoulaye Kanoute used his physical strength to bulldoze his way through a couple of defenders and then cut back for the 21-year old to shoot, but Zela's shot went whiskers wide off the wooden frame.

TRAU made Aizawl pay for their profligacy as they took the lead in the 66th minute through Krishnananda Singh. Uche pumped the ball long and Krishnanda produced a brilliant one-touch finish to score his second of the season. Mawia could not hide his disappointment as the ball flew inside the net through the first post in spite of him being in position. 

Rozario threw in Justice Morgan and Paul Ramfangzauva in hunt of the equalizer but in vain. Instead, his team could have conceded the third if Emeka had been a bit more clinical in front of goal after beating Kassaga with pace and guile. 

In the final 10 minutes, the  People's Club did pull up their socks but it was too little too late to get past TRAU's resilient defending. 

The former I-league champions will return to action against Real Kashmir on February 1, whereas TRAU will face Gokulam a day later away from home.