Narzary scores a brace in big derby win
The past week in the Hero I-League saw Aizawl FC open up a three-point lead at the top of the table following a 1-0 away win against DSK Shivajians and a 2-2 draw against Minerva Punjab in Ludhiana. Aizawl beat DSK 1-0 on Tuesday courtesy of an 85th-minute winner from Laldanmawia Ralte. The northeast-outfit though will be disappointed to share the spoils in their game against Minerva on Saturday after racing into a two-goal lead through strikes from Mahmoud Al Amna and Lalthakima either side of the break. The hosts got back on level terms with goals from Loveday just beyond the hour mark and Kareem Nurain nine minutes from full-time.
Kolkata giants East Bengal, on the other hand, lost ground on Aizawl this past weekend. The Red and Gold Brigade suffered 2-1 defeats to Churchill Brothers at the Barasat District Sports Stadium in Kolkata on Tuesday and Chennai City at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Sunday. Anthony Wolfe and Ansumana Kromah gave Churchill a 2-0 lead and Chris Payne pulled one back for East Bengal in their home loss .The title challenger’s second match of the week saw them take the lead through Willis Plaza in the first half before conceding twice in the second period thanks to goals from Chennai’s Nandhakumar S and Prasanth Karuthadathkuni.
The highest-scoring match of the week saw DSK Shivajians put Mumbai FC to the sword 5-0 in the Maharashtra derby at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune on Saturday. Holicharan Narzary (NorthEast United FC) scored twice for DSK in the first half to give his side a 2-0 lead at half-time.
The 22-year-old scored his first in the 15th minute by making the most of a half-clearance to give his side the lead. He bagged his second 12 minutes later as he exchanged passes with Sanju Pradhan (FC Pune City) before controlling and finishing in comfortbale fashion from within the penalty area.
Pradhan then got his name on the scoresheet as well by latching onto a pass by Juan Quero before rifling his shot past the goalkeeper to make it 3-0. NorthEast United FC’s duo of Lallianzuala Chhangte and Jerry Mawihmingthanga scored the fourth and fifth of the night in the 67th and 83rd minutes respectively. Chhangte capitalised on a misplaced pass by Mumbai before finishing with conviction, while Mawihmingthanga added the cherry on top with a neat finish after Quero had played him in on goal.
Elsewhere, Mohun Bagan played a 2-2 draw against Mumbai at the Rabindra Sarobar in Kolkata on Wednesday and a 0-0 stalemate against Bengaluru FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bangalore on Saturday. Atlético de Kolkata’s Pritam Kotal gave the Mariners an early lead but two quickfire goals from Thoi Singh (Chennaiyin FC) and Victorino Fernandes saw the Maharashtra outfit on course for maximum points up until the 89th minute when Balwant Singh rose to the occasion and equalised for Mohun Bagan. Reigning champions Bengaluru FC also drew 1-1 with Chennai City at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Wednesday. John Johnson scored an own goal in the 53rd minute but Daniel Lalhlimpuia (Chennaiyin FC) scored the equaliser for the hosts five minutes later.
Meanwhile, Shillong Lajong rose to fourth in the standings after a 2-1 win over Minerva Punjab at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana on Tuesday and a 0-0 draw with Churchill Brothers at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Goa on Sunday. Samuel Lalmuanpuia and Fabio Pena netted for Shillong and Kareem Omolaja scored from the spot for Minerva.
After Week 14 of the Hero I-league, this season’s surprise team Aizawl FC now have 30 points and a three-point lead over second-placed East Bengal and a seven point-lead over third-placed Mohun Bagan, who have two games in hand. The bottom of the table sees Mumbai FC occupy the last spot having taken 10 points from their 14 matches thus far. Chennai City and Minerva Punjab are in eighth and ninth spots with 13 and 12 points respectively.