I-League: Bengaluru FC outwit Shillong Lajong FC, Aizawl hold Mumbai FC

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March 3: Bengaluru FC (BFC) defeated Shillong Lajong 2-0 to consolidate their second position in the I-League football tournament at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, here on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, an own goal by Syed Rahim Nabi spoilt the show for Mumbai FC who led twice only to be held to a 2-2 draw by Aizawl FC in an llth round I-League football match at the Cooperage ground..

Udanta Singh (36th minute) gave Bengaluru the lead before Seong-Yong Kim (82nd) made it 2-0 in favour of the visitors.

BFC have now narrowed the gap with league leaders and defending champions Mohun Bagan to just one point. They are on 21 points from 10 matches, with six games yet to go.

Shillong Lajong continue to be at the fifth position with 11 points.

BFC dominated their opponents throughout the game with Curtis Osano, Michael Collins, Sunil Chettri and Udanta combining well to create problems for the Lajong defence.

BFC finally broke the deadlock when Kim deflected an Osano freekick to Udanta inside the penalty box.

Udanta’s initial attempt was blocked by Lajong goalkeeper Vishal Kaith but the striker was alert enough to score off the rebound.

Kim sealed the match in favour of the visitors when he headed in a corner in the final 10minutes of the game.

Lajong striker Uiliams had the best chance for the hosts in the injury time but he blasted a powerful shot over the crossbar.

In the Mumbai vs Aizawl encounter, the home team took an early lead through Ryuki Kozawa in the third minute but it was neutralised by a strike from the visitors’ Albert Zohmingmawia in the 18th.

Crossing over, Liberian Eric Brown scored in the 57th minute to put Mumbai 2-1 ahead before substitute Nabi deflected the ball into his own goal six minutes later to enable Aizawl draw level.

The draw, their fifth in 10 games, not only enabled Mumbai to keep their unbeaten record at home but also pushed them up to the fifth spot on the table ahead of another north east team, Shillong Lajong FC, on the basis of a better goal difference. Both teams have 11 points to their credit.

Aizawl are placed seventh with 9 points from 10 games.

Mumbai got off to a superb start by scoring from the penalty spot after Kozawa’s attempted cross struck a defender’s hand. The Japanese striker made no mistake by finding the left corner of the net.

But Aizawl recovered splendidly immediately after the restart by attacking the rival goal and succeeded in equalising through Zohmingmawia, who weaved his way into the box from the right and shot home.

After trooping off the field at half time, Mumbai surged into the lead again off a free kick with Brown’s shot going in off the near upright.
But the lead didn’t last long. Zohmingmawia’s high cross was deflected in by Nabi.

The visitors then missed a good chance when Joel Sunday blasted the ball over the bar in the 71st minute. Then Mumbai’s Brown very nearly scored off another free-kick in the 88th minute but his power-packed long-range effort struck the post.

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