AIZAWL FC failed to recover from an early sting and suffered a 2-0 defeat to Sporting Clube de Goa at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Aizawl today.
The match started on the wrong foot for the home club when just about 16 seconds into the contest defender Lalruatthara let the ball slip past him. It found its way to Nicolas Fernandes who had an open goal to tap the ball into. It was the fastest goal of the season yet and Sporting Clube de Goa were leading one nil.
Aizawl FC had a couple of quick chances to get even: one shot came from Valpuia and the second was from Alfred Jaryan. Both were saved by SCG keeper Arindam Bhattacharya.
Sporting Clube de Goa were having their own troubles too. As usual, the supply line to captain Odafa Okolie was nearly non-existent. The Nigerian was playing deep down trying to build an attack but nothing was happening at the centre.
Yet the visitors got a second goal. It was the defender Loveday Enyinnaya who sent a high ball from the midfield. It caught the Aizawl FC goalkeeper out of position and went straight into the net. It was a goal reminiscent of Taisuke's strike against Pune FC last season, and a spectacular way to double the lead for Sporting Clube de Goa.
In the second half, Lalrinpuia got a shot at goal from a little further than scoring range and it went just above the target. Minutes later he tried again, this time with a header, but it went wide.
The match was no longer being dominated by the visitors. The Aizawl FC defenders were doing well, to contain Odafa and make sure there was no further deficit. But up front the home players were struggling to find the target. Biaktea had a good chance to head one home but he too missed the mark.
Sensing a victory sealed, SCG coach Mateus Costa decided to rest Densil Theobald to field young Marcus Masceranhas. Very soon the substitute got a chance to get one in; a cross from Nicholas Fernandes that caught him unprepared to promptly execute a finisher.
A couple more chances came Aizawl FC's way, including a free-kick taken by David Lalrimuana, but like most of their chances, this too was saved by Arindam Bhattacharya.
The match ended with Sporting Clube de Goa grabbing their first win of the season. With this, they moved past the dreaded relegation spot, to the 5th place in the points table with 4 points from 3 matches.
Aizawl FC lost their third match in 4 outings, and while the goals they conceded were unlucky, their performance was not up to the mark either. The defenders played well in the second half but in the first half they allowed the opponent wingers a lot of space. And their attackers, while doing a lot of running, didn't seem to get anything right in the final third. It was a disappointing day for the Aizawl FC fans who had packed the stadium full on a Monday afternoon to watch them play. Aizawl FC are on 3 points from 4 matches, 6th on the league table for now.