Kolkata: All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them — this quote by the famous Walt Disney describes aptly how Aizawl FC has been performing this season of the I League.
They have shown some serious courage to fight all throughout the season and now, they are just a draw away from clinching their first ever I-League title after they edged past former champions Mohun Bagan by a 1-0 margin.
The crowd at the foggy Rajiv Gandhi stadium in Aizawl was witness to the title-deciding clash between Aizawl and Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan, with the hosts requiring a 2-0 victory to secure their maiden title win. And efforts were made to do just that after Aizawl defender Zohmingliana Ralte headed a goal in the 83rd minute from a corner by Syrian Mahmoud Al-amna. This beautiful win levels things up after the Mariners had went past the Highlanders by a 3-2 margin in their first meeting in the competition.
Mohun Bagan dominated the proceedings in the first half of the game but failed to get a lead when Englishman Darryl Duffy miffed a goal scoring opportunity after he successfully went past two defenders before but couldn’t get through the defense of goalie Albino Gomes. Even Aizawl had their missed chances in the first half itself when their top scorer this season- Kamo Stephane Bayi shot the ball straight into the hands of keeper Debjit Majumdar.
And coach Khalid Jamil couldn’t have asked for a better birthday gift, even though he said that a 2-0 result would have been ideal. “A 2-0 win would have been ideal, but the bottom line is we won a tough game. It is a great achievement for the boys who put in a lot of hard work while enjoying every moment on the field” said the man, who turned 40 on Sunday.
This Aizawl victory now makes the equation for winning the league pretty simple. With this win, they are on 36 points- three more than Mohunbagan and would head on to the final week of play leading the table and needing just a solitary point to win the title. And a draw would just be enough for them. They are scheduled to take on Shillong Lajong in an away game.
However, Mohunbagan is not entirely out of the contention for a second league title. After this stunning defeat, they could all hope that they beat Chennai on April 30. Coach Sanjay Sen too believes that all is not lost and they still could win the league if they win their last encounter. “We now have a must-win match against Chennai City on April 30” said Sen.
However, it looks all the more probable for Aizawl to win their maiden title and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that their performances have just been similar to what Leicester City had done last season to come from nowhere to win the coveted Barclays Premier League in England.
And if they finally do it, it would be one statement making success story which no person in Aizawl would ever forget.
(With inputs from agencies)