Pune, Mar 7 (PTI) Laldanmawia Ralte scored a late goal as Aizawl FC beat DSK Shivajians by a solitary goal and jumped to the top spot in the I-League points table here today.
Ralte struck in the 85th minute to Aizawl full three points at the Balewadi Sports Complex ground here.
Khalid Jamil’s side had to dig deep to finally get the better of the home team, who could have scored a late equaliser but Lalrinzuala’s profligacy in front of the goal cost them a vital point at home.
DSK Shivajians, without a win in their last five matches, made three changes to the side which faced Chennai City in the last game week.
At the back, Serbian Sasa Kolunija replaced Ricky Lallawmawma, while under-22 player Jerry Lalrinzuala was introduced from the start along with Ongnam Milan Singh.
Aizawl manager Khalid Jamil made no changes to his starting line-up from the side’s 2-0 win against Mumbai FC at home last time.
Aizawl started the game with good intensity, pushing DSK Shivajians on the backfoot early on, but lacked penetration in their passing around the opposition’s 18-yard-box.
The Shivajians looked threatening, particularly down the left flank, from where the side’s first real chance came as Narzary’s header was pushed away by Gomes.
Although the home side had some good chances to take the lead in the first half, they failed to act sharply and failed to bring precision in the final third of the field.
DSK Shivajians, slowly and steadily, began to take control of the proceedings. Narzary looked in good spirit and seemed to have been central to the home side’s game plan as an attacking outlet, but they faltered in the final third.
Past the half-hour mark, Biaklian Paite failed to find the back of an open net, to leave him red faced on 31 minutes.
As the match reached the close of the first half, a series of attempts were cleared off by Gomes in goal for Aizawl, who denied DSK from taking the lead and kept his team in the match.
As the proceedings unfurled in the second half, the home team continued to display their attacking flair with much superiority in their game.
Both managers then decided to bring on pairs of fresh legs in the final 20 minutes. Eventually, against the run of play, Laldanmawia Ralte broke the deadlock in the 85th minute, courtesy of some neat build-up play down the left flank, and Ralte had an easy tap-in to get the better of Subrata ‘Spiderman’ Paul.
With the win, Aizawl FC (29) go two points clear of East Bengal (27) at the top while DSK Shivajians continue to languish at the seventh spot with 11 points from 13 matches.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.