Reigning champions Aizawl FC settled with all three points from Kozhikode, thanks to the own goal scored by Daniel Addo (45′) and a peach of a strike by Andrei Ionescu (52′) to reach the double figures on the points table. On the other hand, Bino George’s boys are still placed in the bottom half of the table with 4 points from 6 matches following their 0-2 loss against Aizawl FC at the EMS Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode today (December 31, 2017).
Gokulam Kerala FC started without their star striker Kamo Bayi and opted to hold their own-half rather than attacking the Reds from the kick-off. On the other hand, Aizawl FC’s foreign recruits Kobayashi and Ionescu continued to press hard but the hosts managed to contain with the flurry of attacks until the last minute of the first-half.
Lalram Hmunmawia put in a low cross for Kobayashi from the left-flank but eventually Daniel Addo, the Ghanaian defender of Gokulam Kerala FC poked it into the net in the 45th minute to the host team’s dismay.
After the changeover, Aizawl FC took only seven minutes to double the lead from Andrei Ionescu’s brilliant effort. Lalmuankima took on his own to charge a counter-attack from their own half and unleashed a lively pass to the Romanian striker who blasted the back of the net from the top of the box.
Bino George who rued the foreigners’ forms and injury woes yesterday, kept his cards close to his chest towards the last quarter of the game until introducing Francis. He tried his luck from the middle of the pitch in the 82nd minute but Aizawl FC goalkeeper Abilash Paul had absolutely no qualm gloving it.
Aizawl FC coach Paulo Menezes introduced Alfred Jaryan later having withdrawn Yugo Kobayashi. Meanwhile, Bino George who was running out of options tried to build some pressure on the opponents closer to the final whistle but the champions managed to sweep away with all three points from the EMS Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode on the New Year’s Eve.
Following the win, Aizawl FC rise to the fifth spot, leapfrogging Shillong Lajong with 10 points whereas Gokulam Kerala FC drop to ninth with 4 points.
Gokulam Kerala FC will host Minerva Punjab FC on January 6, 2018, in their next fixture while Aizawl FC will fly to Kolkata to challenge Mohun Bagan next day.
AIFF Media Release