Kozhikode, Feb 28 (IANS) Aizawl FC came from behind to beat Gokulam Kerala FC 3-1 and enhance their chances of saving relegation in an I-League encounter here on Thursday.
Gokulam drew first blood through Marcus Joseph in the ninth minute before Aizawl restored parity in the 83rd minute through Paul Ramfanzauva.
The Highlanders struck in quick succession twice through Mawpuia in the 88th minute and Kromah in the added time (90′ + 6′) to seal the game in their favour.
In the must-win game for both the teams, the home side took to the attacks right from the start.
Gokulam pressed hard with Marcus Joseph and Suhair VP in combination and looked threatening from the start.
Gokulam Kerala FC who were finding their way into the Aizawl FC box in regular intervals could not find a way to convert the chances that came their way. However, Aizawl FC did try hard to create a few chances through Kromah and Léonce Dodoz but could not really breach past the Gokulam defence line.
Gokulam’s attacking game soon yielded a result when a scintillating free-kick from Marcus Joseph in the 9th minute found its way straight into the goal giving the home team a much-deserved lead early into the game.
Aizawl came back again in their second attempt to score but some amazing goalkeeping from Gokulam Kerala FC’s Shibin Raj ensured that the visitors do not find their way for an equalizer. The first half came to an end with Gokulam Kerala FC leading 1-0 against Aizawl FC.
The second half began with Gokulam Kerala FC again leading the proceedings. Their attempts to consolidate their lead could not actualise thanks to an alert Aizawl Defence. Aizawl FC who were trying hard for an equaliser were unlucky on two occasions when they hit the crossbar.
Aizawl’s efforts finally paid off when a blunder by Shibin Raj was capitalised by Lalkhawpuimawia who deflected the ball to Paul Ramfanzauva who made no mistake in finding the back of the net in the 83rd minute.
The Reds suddenly changed gears after that and took the lead in the 88th minute when a through ball from Kromah was collected by Mawpuia who made no mistake thereafter scoring the second goal for Aizawl FC.
Gokulam, who were rattled by now, tried coming back to the attack aiming to score another but an alert defence line from Aizawl ensured that the hosts do not find their way to the back of the net.
Kromah nailed the final one in Gokulam’s coffin in the final moments of the added time to ensure they leave Kozhikode with all three points.