AIZAWL FC TOOK the upper hand over Chanmari FC in Mizoram Premier League semi-finals, as Aizawl's famous Rajiv Gandhi Stadium held its first match under floodlights.
The first leg semi-final encounter between Aizawl FC and Chanmari FC was a special occasion as the newly installed floodlights at the RG Stadium in Salem Veng, which serves as the home ground for Aizawl FC in the I-League, were put to use for the first time during a competitive match.
State govt sports minister Robert Romawia Royte, who is also the owner of Aizawl FC, inaugurated the floodlights before the match was underway.
Aizawl FC, who had finished top of the table in the league stage of Mizoram Premier League 2019, faced Chanmari FC who had pulled off a late resurgence to grab the 4th spot.
The match proved to be a tight affair with Chanmari's defence working hard to cancel Aizawl's attacking onslaught. The first half remained goalless, but halfway into the second half Aizawl's repeated attacks finally bore fruit when Isak Vanlalruatfela found the net.
The game ended 1-0 in Aizawl FC's favour, taking them one step ahead towards the grand finale.
Aizawl FC, who are also playing in the I-League, will dispatch their main squad to take on NEROCA and Indian Arrows away from home on 6th and 9th December respectively. Most players who feature there are unlikely to take part in the second leg of the semi-final, scheduled for 10th December. This means although Aizawl FC will go in with an advantage, Chanmari FC will have an opportunity to strike back against weaker or exhausted players.
Aizawl FC have started the season well with a draw against Mohun Bagan, but in local football they have not been able to win any trophies so far this season. Since the club has done well in Mizoram Premier League and is close to winning the prestigious state league title, it will be interesting to see how the management handles the difficult balancing act of managing two campaigns at the same time with often conflicting schedules.