MANJERI: The battle of the North East between Aizawl FC and TRAU for a spot in the Group Stages of the Hero Super Cup turned out to be an interesting encounter, with the former having the last laugh at the Payyanad Stadium, Manjeri, on Thursday, April 6, 2023.
It was more of a seesaw fight, but a goal in the 64th minute by Belarusian striker Ivan Veras made all the difference leaving Aizawl FC the 1-0 winners.
Aizawl FC, the People’s Club, appeared to be the better of the two teams in the early stages, making several inroads into the rival area. They had more than one attempt on target in the first half, but somehow couldn’t find the back of the net. While they were definitely unlucky on a few occasions, their strikers, too, didn’t do their team any favours by failing to take advantage of some of the opportunities that came their way.
On the other hand, TRAU FC too made a couple of breakthroughs, but couldn’t capitalise on either. Aizawl’s early chance came in the 12th minute when Nigerian defender Emmanuel Olugbena’s shot went off-target from inside the box.
After finishing 0-0 in the first 45 minutes, the two sides made strategic changes to come back strong in the second session. Once they returned to the pitch, both teams altered their tactics with quick substitutions.
In the 64th minute, Chhantea Sailo found space on the right flank and delivered a measured cross inside the box. His shot was saved by the opposition keeper Lunkhominlenmang Jedidi, but Ivan Veras was quick to react on the rebound and found the back of the net to give his side a lead that turned out to be the decisive goal in the end.
Having fallen behind, TRAU FC were expected to hit back with all their might, but, strangely enough, they continued to struggle for the most part of the second half, failing to break down Aizawl’s resolute defence.Aizawl FC should definitely be happy with the victory – it not only took them to the Group Stages of the Hero Super Cup, but also gave them their first win over TRAU this season. In the Hero I-League, the first clash between the two teams ended in a 1-1 draw, while TRAU were clear 3-1 winners when they hosted the match.