I-League 2023-24: Rampaging Sreenidi Deccan FC leave 10-man Aizawl FC clueless

February 19, 2024
Sreenidi Deccan FC ramped up the pressure at the top of the table in I-League 2023-24, beating Aizawl FC 5-1 at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium

Aizawl, Feb 19 (IANS) Sreenidi Deccan FC ramped up the pressure at the top of the table in I-League 2023-24, beating Aizawl FC 5-1 at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Monday. Ibrahim Sissoko scored a brace in the 83rd minute and then in added time after David Casteneda (28th min), Ali Sabia (66th min) and Brandon Vanlalremdika (90th min) were the other scorers for Sreenidi while Joe Zoherliana scored the lone goal for Aizawl FC in the 49th minute.

The win moved Sreenidi Deccan FC to within five points of the table toppers Mohammedan Sporting, with a game in hand.

Having edged their way, with an outside chance, back into the title race, Sreenidi Deccan needed to keep their momentum up. Predictably then, they began the game in earnest and were well on top in the early exchanges, despite being the team playing away from home. All that pressure seemed to have led to a reward in the 18th minute as they were awarded a penalty for a handball inside the area. David Castaneda sent the goalkeeper Kevin Koshy the wrong way, but his effort ended up hitting the post.

Boosted partly by that miss and in part by the abundance of youth in their ranks, Aizawl hit back with pace and even conjured up some half chances of their own on the Sreenidi goal, albeit with little threat or reward. Those attacks came at a price, as gaps began to appear in their backline. In the 28th minute, finally, Sreenidi struck home in the most anticlimactic way possible. From a long throw-in, Eli Sabia used his physicality to head the ball into the danger zone, allowing Lalromawia to shoot at goal from 10 yards out. His shot was blocked but the rebound fell to Castaneda, who slotted the ball in.

Aizawl hit almost straight back upon the restart, after a sustained period of pressure on the Sreenidi goal. From a well-worked short corner, Lalthanmawia curled a brilliant cross near the penalty spot. Lalthankhuma met the ball perfectly with his head but somehow, brilliantly, Albino Gomes palmed the ball away, albeit straight into the path of Joe Zoherliana, who gratefully slotted it in.

Just when it seemed like the momentum had swung in favour of the home team, disaster struck. Lalthankhuma picked up a second yellow for a foul on the touchline to get his marching orders, reducing his team to 10. Sreenidi duly capitalised and in the 66th minute, Faysal Shayesteh’s corner was flicked on by Castaneda towards Eli Sabia inside the six-yard area. The defender’s looped header went in despite the best efforts of a diving Koshy.

Ibrahim Sissoko added a brilliant third in the 83rd minute after exchanging passes with Lalbiakliana at the edge of the box before curling his effort into the top corner. The pick of the bunch came from Brandon Vanlalremdika in the 90th minute of the game.

Having picked up a loose ball 40 yards from goal, he drove towards it, before unleashing an inch-perfect effort from outside the box into the bottom corner for Sreenidi’s fourth. Kean Lewis danced into the box from the left to put a perfect cross for Sissoko to volley in his second and wrap up a memorable evening for the visitors.

–IANS/bsk/

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