Kozhikode (Kerala): Reigning champions Aizawl FC settled with a 2-0 win over debutants Gokulam Kerala, here, at the EMS Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode, on Sunday.
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 the team, 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 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.
Following the win, Aizawl FC have risen to the fifth spot, leapfrogging Shillong Lajong with 10 points whereas Gokulam Kerala FC have dropped to ninth with 4 points. (ANI)