Indian Arrows snatch 1-0 victory against former champs Aizawl FC
Indian Arrows snatched a 1-0 victory against former champions Aizawl FC thanks to a solitary goal from youngster Rohit Danu in an I-League encounter here on Saturday. By virtue of this goal, Danu also became the youngest player at the age of 16 years, five months and 27 days to score a goal in the I-League, beating fellow Arrows starlet Jitendra Singh to the record. The Indian Arrows thus rose to the ninth position in the points table, while hosts Aizawl FC slipped a place to the 10th spot.
As expected, Aizawl, fresh from their fighting win against Gokulam Kerala FC in their last encounter, started on an attacking note. However, the Indian Arrows, who are known for their rock-solid defence, stood up to their reputation, denying the hosts any clear chance. Their persistence was soon rewarded when a faulty pass from Aizawl's Nigerian defender - Kareem Nurain to Lalronsonga was cleverly intercepted at the centre line by Arrows mid-fielder Khumanthem Meetei.
Meetei thereafter made a beautiful run from the centre line to play a superb pass to Rohit Danu just outside the box, who made no mistakes in ensuring that the ball ended up in the back of the net on the 14th minute. The game, thereafter, saw Aizawl come back with added enthusiasm but full marks to the dedicated defence line of the Arrows, the hosts couldn't really make the most of their experience in finding an equaliser. The closest that Aizawl probably came to beating the Arrows defence and scoring was when Rochher Zella missed an open scoring opportunity, misdirecting the ball off an inch-perfect pass from Fanai.
The game thereafter was a mix of attempts from both sides as the first half came to closure with Indian Arrows leading by a solitary goal. The second half began with Aizawl FC pressing hard to score from the first minute, but the Arrows solid defence line was way too hard for them to breach. Numerous attempts to score by the former champions were foiled time and again by the young visitors through some beautiful interceptions inside the box, while on a few occasions when the hosts did breach the Arrows defenders, it was their goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Gill, who stood tall enough to deny Aizawl a chance to equalise. On the other hand, Indian Arrows took a few attempts at the Aizawl goal on the counter but failed to double their lead.
(With inputs from agencies.)