Imphal, Feb 17 (IANS) TRAU moved to third position on the I-League table with a 3-1 win against former champions Aizawl FC at the Khuman Lampak Stadium here on Friday.
Fernandinho opened the scoring for the hosts early in the first half before turning creator to combine with Gerson, who added a second. Aizawl’s R Ramdinthara snatched one back for the visitors before the break, but Salam Johnson Singh’s fifth goal of the season applied the final blow as TRAU completed another home win.
TRAU took the lead as early as the sixth minute. Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho found space just outside the Aizawl penalty area and pulled the trigger. His effort wasn’t too powerful, but goalkeeper Vikram Singh failed to judge it, remaining rooted to the spot as the ball rolled into the net, the AIFF informed on Friday.
Fernandinho then went close to adding a second goal in the 12th minute. TRAU captain Komron Tursunov found him unmarked inside the box with his cross, but the Brazilian couldn’t direct his header on target. However, six minutes later, Fernandinho did help his team double the lead, finding his countryman Gerson with a corner, who headed TRAU into a two-goal lead.
After going two goals down, the visitors showed plenty of urgencies. Matias Veron had two chances in the 19th minute. The Argentine was denied by the TRAU custodian Lunkhominlenmang Jedidi Haokip on the first occasion and failed to keep his effort low on the second.
Soon, Ramdinthara, the bright spot in the Aizawl attack, halved the deficit for the People’s Club. In the 35th minute, following a low cross from the right wing by HK Lalhruaitluanga, the 20-year-old was in the right place at the right time to tap the ball into an open goal.
In the second half, TRAU dashed all hopes of an Aizawl comeback with a lightning-fast start, restoring their two-goal advantage just seconds after the restart. From the midfield, Tursunov played a defence-splitting pass in the path of Salam Johnson Singh, who had made a diagonal run. The 21-year-old dribbled past goalkeeper Vikram before finishing clinically with his left foot to make it 3-1.
Aizawl thought they were back in the game in the 70th minute when Sailo headed the ball into the back of the net, however, the assistant referee’s flag had already gone up for offside.
Five minutes later, Belarusian substitute Ivan Veras had a decent opportunity to score, but couldn’t keep his strike on target following a cross from the right wing.
Aizawl kept on pushing in the final quarter but couldn’t find a way past a firm TRAU defence and a determined Jedidi Haokip in goal. With the defeat, Aizawl remain in the sixth spot with 23 points in 17 games.