Aizawl FC left it late on Friday as they required an injury time winner from the former Mumbai FC player to defeat Minerva Punjab 1-0 at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Aizawl.
Head coach Khalid Jamil made only one change from the side that almost nicked an away win against East Bengal with foreign recruit Mahmoud Al Amenah coming into the side in place of Lalbiakthanga.
Meanwhile, Minerva Punjab gaffer Surinder Singh effected three changes from the stalemate against Chennai City FC with Palsang Lama, Souvik Das and Simranjit Singh handed starts.
The match got off to a typical cagey start that you often attribute to Jamil's teams with Aizawl probing to find weaknesses in the Punjab set up without breaking shape.
The first chance came predictably to the home side in the 22nd minute when Albert Zohmingmawia raced clear off his marker and put in a lovely cross that was inches away from Stephane Kamo who would have had an easy tap-in had he made contact.
At the half-hour mark, Joel Sunday earned a free kick for his side from close quarters but Manandeep Singh's effort was too feeble to trouble Albino Gomes in goal.
In spite of enjoying the lion's share of possession, Aizawl struggled to breach the Punjab backline that defended with aplomb.
In fact, it was the away side that almost nicked a goal on the counter with Manandeep Singh being fouled just outside the box by Kingsley but Joel Sunday failed to do justice to the set piece situation.
Just after the breather, Aizawl almost opened the scoring but Kamo failed to direct Lalruatthara's pinpoint cross.
It was all Aizawl in the second-half with two back to back chances coming their way after the 70th minute.
First, it was Zohmingliana who was left unmarked following a corner kick but was guilty of failing to make proper connection with the ball. Al Amenah then put in a lovely through ball to put substitute Laldanmawia on the way down the right and he put in a perfect cross in but Lalruatthara's header went straight to Ravi Kumar.
Al Amenah continued to exert tremendous influence on the proceedings as he again found Kamo with a defence-splitting pass but the forward failed to get past Ravi Kumar who ended up injuring himself in the process.
It was no surprise that the Syrian midfielder would turn up as the eventual saviour for the team. Deep in injury time, Al Amenah's corner kick was directed into the net by Ashutosh Mehta, who was introduced into the match only about ten minutes ago, leaving substitute keeper Kamaljit Singh confounded.
The late goal handed Aizawl a win which sees them go top of the table while Punjab will consider themselves desperately unlucky to have lost a point.
While Khalid Jamil's team welcome Shillong Lajong in their next match, Punjab face the tough task of travelling to the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium to take on Mohun Bagan.