Punjab FC win 4-3 over Aizawl FC

Kalyani, Mar 11 (PTI) : Punjab FC scored two goals in the injury stoppage time to secure a dramatic 4-3 win over Aizawl FC in a high-scoring I-League match at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium here on Friday.

Punjab left it very late to find a winner, after coming from behind three times in the thrilling match to land a crushing blow on the former champions.

Aizawl FC took the lead in the 24th minute with a slice of luck with David Zate sending the ball into the unguarded net after a Punjab player served him on a platter through a deflection.

Ashley Westwood’s Punjab side levelled the contest on the 38th minute. Their wing play finally bore fruit when captain Bikash Yumnam sent a cross from the right flank. Goalkeeper Lalmuansanga misjudged the flight of the ball, leaving CK Vineeth to rise above everyone else and head the ball into the back of the net.

The parity lasted for a matter of seconds, as Aizawl scored through Ramhlunchhunga in the very next attack of the game on the 40th minute. He arrived in the box at the right time and scored opportunistically by slotting it into the bottom corner.

Punjab FC came back into the game again on the 43rd minute. CK Vineeth was brought down inside the box by a lunging tackle from Lalthakima Ralte. Joseba Beitia took the resultant penalty kick but it was nearly saved by Lalmuansanga. However, his outstretched arm was not enough to stop the ball from finding the net.

Aizawl were the benefactors of a penalty kick in the 47th minute when Dipanda Dicka made it 3-2 in favour of Aizawl.

The side from Mizoram were reduced to 10 men in the 72nd minute as full back Vanlalnghenga received a second yellow card for a foul on Travis Major.

Having to play with a player less in the final quarter of the game, Aizawl showed plenty of resolve to stay in the contest until the dying minutes.

The game, however, turned on its head in added time of the second half.

Kurtis Guthrie headed home a Travis Major cross in the 92nd minute to bring Punjab back to level terms for a third time in the match. This was the Englishman’s sixth goal of the I-League season, putting him on top of the goal scoring charts.

Punjab skipper Bikash Yumnam then broke Aizawl hearts in the 94th minute with a heroic glancing header that steered into the far corner to seal a blockbuster 4-3 win for his side, sparking off wild celebrations on the touchline.

In another match, played at Naihati stadium, Sudeva Delhi and Rajasthan United played out a goal-less draw.
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