Aizawl, Dec 17 (IANS) Aizawl FC and defending champions Chennai City FC played out a 1-1 draw in a hard-fought I-League encounter at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Tuesday.
Aizawl FC, in spite of having 42 per cent of ball possession, looked more threatening for most of the match although they couldn’t find the winning goal.
For Aizawl FC, William Lalnunfela scored in the ninth minute before Chennai City skipper Roberto Eslava drew parity from the penalty spot in the 40th minute.
The first half started with Chennai City looking more fluent of the two teams in the initial minutes. Aizawl took a little time, but they were soon in their groove.
The first major chance was created by Aizawl captain Alfred Jaryan who ran through the Chennai City defence and with an inch-perfect through ball released William Lalnunfela who didn’t make any mistake to put the Reds in front inside first 10 minutes.
In the 18th minute, Chennai got a free-kick outside the Aizawl box on the left and Katsumi Yusa delivered immaculately to his teammate but to Chennai’s dismay, the header didn’t find the target.
Chennai’s relentless attacks were on and Ajith Kumar, after receiving a pass from Eslava, launched a long shot in the 35th minute, which just went a whisker wide of the post.
As it was looking that the hosts would be going into the breather with a slender lead, Katsumi earned a penalty owing to a handball by Paul inside the Aizawl box. Eslava stepped up to take the spot-kick and cancelled Aizawl’s lead five minutes before the half-time whistle.
After the resumption, Lalnunfela again came agonisingly close to regain the lead but his shot went just wide. In the 76th minute, Chennai earned a corner but the header from Ajith went begging.
In the 79th minute, young Aizawl midfielder Rochharzela showed exceptional skill to run past Chennai defenders, but with only the goalkeeper left to be beaten, he squandered the golden opportunity.
With the draw, Aizawl FC stay sixth with five points from four matches whereas Chennai City remain at the seventh place with one point fewer from three outings.