Manuel Retamero made four changes in NEROCA FC starting XI which managed a 1-1 draw in their previous game against Gokulam Kerala. Denechendra Meitei, Subash Singh, Eduardo Ferreira and Tondonba Singh were replaced by Biaklian Paite, Sebastian Thangmuansang, Abdul Salam and Jerry Onesemas. Gift Raikhan fielded an unchanged Aizawl XI.
It was a slow start to the match in Aizawl as both teams focused on protecting their goal before going for attacks. Aizawl were commanding than NEROCA as they enjoyed better possession.
The home side came close to score their opening goal of the match in the 23rd minute when Alfred Jaryan attempted a volley from Albert Zohmingmawia’s corner. NEROCA custodian Mauro Boerchio did well to save the goal.
The other chance for Aizawl came at the half-hour mark after Bektur Talgat Ulu was brought down by Biaklin Paite at the edge of the box. Kareem Nurain curled a free-kick but it went just above the crossbar.
It was a stalemate after a relatively dull first 45 minutes of football in Aizawl. The home side were dominant but failed to break the deadlock.
The away side were off to a positive start in the second half after a poor first half as Manuel Retamero’s side showed intent to score the opening goal of the match.
NEROCA came close to score on three occasions within the first 10 minutes of the second half but failed to convert. Sensing danger Aizawl boss Gift Raikhan introduced Leonce Dodoz in place of Lalrinfela to inject more attacking flair in the team.
Dodoz’s substitution worked well for Raikhan as Aizawl regained the control of the game. The team’s formation changed to 4-3-3 with Dodoz, Mapuia and Kromah leading from the front.
Retamero made a couple of changes in central midfield replacing Abdul Salam and Biaklin Paite with Sushil Meitei and Tondongba Singh.
The hosts tried their best to score a goal in the final 30 minutes of the match but NEROCA defenders stood firm on their ground. Ansumana Kromah remained profligate in front of the goal to worsen Aizawl's cause.