Hosts Aizawl FC inflicted a 2-0 defeat to Chennai City courtesy of goals from Yugo Kobayashi (26’) and David Lalrinmuana (32’) in an I-League 2017-18 clash at the Rajiv Gandhi stadium on Saturday.
Paulo Menezes deployed a 4-2-3-1 formation as he made four changes to the side which lost 2-0 to Mohun Bagan. Yugo Kobayashi, David Lalrinmuana, Albert Zohmingmawia and C Lalrosanga all came in to the XI with the Japanese striker leading the line up top.
Chennai City meanwhile lined up in a 4-4-2 formation Jean-Michael Joachim and Michael Soosairaj deployed as the two men up front with Alexander Jesuraj and Edwin Vanspaul providing the support on the flanks.
It was the hosts who started the match on the front-foot with Kobayashi and David looking threatening. They had the chance to go ahead in the 17th minute when Andrei Ionescu was put through on goal but Chennai custodian Uros Poljanec was quick off his line to smother the danger.
Menezes’ men were awarded a spot-kick in the 24th minute of the game when David Lalrinmuana cut past Dharmaraj Ravnan to enter the box. Veniamin Shumeiko was there to stop the Aizawl attacker but he unfortunately handled the ball as he lost his balance.
Kobayashi made no mistake from the spot as he sent Poljanec the wrong way to put the home-side 1-0 ahead. Ionescu was at the heart of every Aizawl attack and it was he who turned provider a few minutes later to double the advantage.
The play-maker set up David with some lovely footwork and the latter’s shot cannoned off the post before crossing the line to make it 2-0 in the 32nd minute.
The visitors came mighty close to reducing the deficit just a couple of minutes later when skipper Soosairaj’s shot at goal was well saved by Avliash Paul. It was the home side who dominated the possession and created the better opportunities but there would be no change to the scoreline as the two teams went into the half-time interval.
Soundarajan made two changes in the opening minutes of the second period as he searched for a way back into the tie. Antony Beautin and Shaji Antony were thrown in for Alexander Jesuraj and Pradeep Mohanraj.
Aizawl were content to sit back and play on the counter with their two-goal cushion and almost paid the price or it towards the hour-mark but Vanspaul blasted his effort over the bar. Soosairaj had another half-chance a few minutes later but his effort from inside the box was too close to Paul who made an easy save.
The visitors enjoyed more of the ball in the second-half but were unable to create some great openings for themselves as the home side tightened its defensive organisation.
Junior was a constant menace but Chennai City’s attacking impetus was also creating spaces on the break for the home side. He had a chance to make it 2-1 in the 85th minute but Paul was once again on hand to deny him and maintain his clean-sheet.
The home side would run away with the three points ultimately to make up for their defeat by the same margin to Mohun Bagan.