Aizawl beat Gokulam in I-League clash

File Photo : Aizawl FC
IANS|02-Mar-2018 20:47

Aizawl, March 2 : Defending champions Aizawl FC humbled in-form Gokulam FC 3-1 to end their I-League campaign on a high here on Friday.

Mahmood Al Ajmi (25th minute) calmly converted a penalty kick to give Gokulam the lead.

But Leonce Dodoz (59th, 74th) struck twice to put the hosts in command and Lalkhawpuimawia (78th) blasted the back of the net to seal the fate of the match. 

Aizawl thus finished their campaign at the fifth place with 24 points from 18 matches.

Seventh placed Gokulam, who have garnered 20 points from 17 matches, will play their final game of the season when they host Mohun Bagan on March 6.

The home side made three changes as coach Santosh Kashyap handed goalkeeper Lalawmpuia his first start of the season. Masih Saighani and Albert replaced Lalthathanga Khawlhring and Albert Zohmingmawia. 

With Aizawl sticking to a 3-5-2 formation, Lalkhawpuimawia and Leonce Dodoz led the forward line.

Gokulam coach Bino George made only one change from their last game as Kivi Zhimoni made way for Salman K. Henry Kisseka and K. Salman led the forward line supported by former Bahrain midfield maestro Mahmood Al Ajmi.

Dodoz was presented with the first chance of the match but the forward was denied by an excellent save by Gokulam goalkeeper Bilal Khan.

Gokulam returned the favour a few minutes later when Mohammad Rashid's long ranger was thwarted by Lalawmpuia. The visitors started to dominate the proceedings and they were unlucky as Arjun Jayaraj's curling effort flew just wide of the target.

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Gokulam were awarded a penalty when Henry Kissekka's shot from inside the box struck Lalchawnkima's arm and the referee pointed to the spot. Al Ajmi stepped up and made no mistake, scoring his third goal of the season.

Alfred Jaryan had a wonderful chance to level the scores for Aizawl after he was released by Andrei Ionescu's killer pass but the winger could not find the back of the net as goalkeeper Bilal stood firm.

At the hour-mark, Bilal was in the receiving end when he slipped Alfred's cross a few minutes later which fell to Dodoz and the striker found the back of the net from close range.

The goal proved to be vital as Aizawl retrieved the rhythm in their game. 

Bino Geroge introduced Naga striker Kivi Zhimomi in place of Al Ajmi but it was the home side who went all guns blazing.

Dodoz skipped past Rashid and wrong-footed the goalkeeper to rattle the net once again in the 74th minute.

Aizawl scored their third goal four minutes later when Khawlhring Lalthathanga's corner was weakly fisted away by Bilal before it fell right in the path of Lalkhawpuimawia who hammered the ball past the Gokulam defenders to notch up his third goal of the season.