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I-League   /   Aizawl FC   /   East Bengal   /  

I-League 2017-18: AIzawl FC snatch a point from East Bengal in a thrilling 2-2 draw

A THRILLER UNFOLDED AT the Salt Lake Stadium as East Bengal and Aizawl FC began their season with a high-voltage match.

After a heavily contested first half where East Bengal created multiple chances through Katsumi Yusa and Willis Plaza, the score was still goalless, although Plaza had already hit the woodwork once.

But the home team came out all guns blazing in the second half and created an enormous pressure on the Aizawl FC defence by pushing the midfield up in high numbers. As the game approached the hour mark, the Aizawl box was overwhelmed with attacks by East Bengal. Keeper Avilash Paul made a few excellent saves to keep the game level.

But at last East Bengal got the break through when a corner kick taken by Katsumi Yusa hit Brandon Vanlalremdika and was headed into the net from close range by Eduardo Ferreira. And just a few minutes later, a through ball from Mohammed Rafique took a deflection off Katsumi Yusa and went into the net, almost unintentionally.

East Bengal were suddenly 2-0 up and having no other option Aizawl FC put everything behind their effort to get a goal.

They found success almost immediately as a defensive error allowed Kareem Omolaja's ball to be tapped into the net by William Lalnunfela. 2-1.

The last 20 minutes became a game of vicious counters as both teams tried hard to gain a final upper hand. East Bengal players were also causing delays in the game by going down on soft touches and pretending to be hurt. The referee added 4 minutes to the second half but the same behaviour kept occurring in the added time too, forcing the play to go on longer.

In the 97th minute, Aizawl FC got a 35 yard free kick. Khawlring took it and his delivery was perfect. It allowed William Lalnunfela to knock it into the goal just before the final whistle.

The visiting fans went crazy as the defending champions celebrated a remarkable recovery; they had managed to snatch a point away from the mouth of an assured defeat in what was clearly the most competitive game of the 2017-18 football season yet.

East Bengal will regret this result, as they desperately wanted to have a win on the board before they take on arch rivals Mohun Bagan in a Kolkata Derby clash on Sunday. Aizawl FC, meanwhile, will be delighted with this point. They will now return to their hometown and play in the Mizoram Premier League semis where they also got a 2-2 result in the first leg.

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