Indian Arrows picked up their third win in the 2018-19 edition of the I-League whereas Aizawl suffered their sixth defeat of the season in 11 games. The win also saw Indian Arrows leapfrog the People's Club on the league table with 10 points from as many matches.
Gift Raikhan made four changes to the side that snatched a narrow 3-2 victory over Gokulam Kerala. Goalkeeper Lallawmpuia, Ansumana Kromah, Govin Singh and Hmingthan Mawia were left out of the starting XI and were replaced by Gurpreet Singh, Juuko Richard Kassaga, Isak Vanlalruatfela, and Kareem Nurain.
On the other hand, Indian Arrows coach Floyd Pinto handed a rare start to Rohit Danu in place of Vikram Pratap Singh. Striker Rahim Ali found himself dropped from the starting line-up and Meetei was reinstated instead.
Both teams were locked into a fierce midfield battle right from the kick-off. The likes of Deepak Tangri and Amarjit Singh fought tooth and nail against seasoned campaigners like Alfred Jaryan and made sure that Aizawl was throttled even before they could venture into the attacking third.
In the 14th minute, Danu repaid the trust shown in him and scored the opener for Indian Arrows. Meetei deserves his share of praise as well as the young midfielder skipped past two Aizawl defenders and produced a brilliantly weighted through ball for Danu who bent his run to beat the offside trap before slotting it past Gurpreet under the sticks.
Aizawl increased their attacking tempo in search of the equaliser but lacked creativity in the attacking third.
Dodoz started drifting towards the left flank to see more off the ball but the Ivorian was repeatedly frustrated by a gritty Indian Arrows defence as he tried to cut inside from the wide areas to have a sight of goal.
Pinto's boys sat deep and soaked up the pressure allowing very little space for Aizawl to shoot.
The All India Football Federation's developmental side could have doubled their lead against the run of play in injury time when Vikram Pratap showed a clean pair of heels to Kassaga and squared a pass to Rahul but the latter fell inches short of the ball.
This win will boost the confidence of Indian Arrows as they will be up against Kolkata giants East Bengal in their next fixture on January 8 whereas Aizawl will play hosts to Real Kashmir on January 11.