I-League: Real Kashmir FC script late comeback win Aizawl FC 2-1

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SRINAGAR: Real Kashmir scripted another late comeback victory by 2-1 at the TRC Stadium here on Tuesday. After a goal less first half and a drab first half-an-hour of the second half, the game sprang to life with Aizawl taking the lead. But the hosts scored twice in the space of five minutes to turn the tie around.

It was an evenly-matched encounter right from the start. However, Real Kashmir could have taken the lead in the seventh minute but Samuel Kynshi’s right-footed free-kick from just outside the Aizawl box did not swing in enough and hit the near the post before going out.

Kynshi also tried to curl in a right-footer through the far post in the 18th minute, but it went wide. His relentlessness would have paid off immediately had Ernest Boateng been able to get a touch on his cross from the left.

Aizawl goalkeeper Lalmuansanga’s uneasiness with the aerial ball became clear in the second half and eventually destroyed his team’s hopes. It first came to the fore in the 60th minute.

Jestin George came up with one of those long throw-ins from the left flank and Lalmuansanga completely missed the flight. Fortunately for him, Real Kashmir’s Balwinder Singh, waiting in front of the goal, missed it too.

The Aizawl custodian was once again out of position six minutes later as George crossed into the box. Winger R Ramdinthara failed to clear, and the ball went to Akashdeep on the left. His shot was saved from the goalline by Aizawl’s Japanese defender Akito Saito. But it seemed none of those defensive lapses would matter when Lalramsanga scored in the 75th minute.

Lalchhanhima Sailo received a pass from the right and played a nice one-two with Lalramsanga, who fired a grounded strike into the corner of the net with his left foot.

But the joy did not last long as four minutes later, Lalmuansanga spilled Wadudu Yakubu’s innocuous lob from far, in spite of the fact that nobody was pressing on him. George was close by and calmly used his left foot to make it 1-1.

Saito did make another sliding attempt at a goalline save but did not succeed this time round.

Real Kashmir’s dominance of the left-wing settled the issue in the 84th minute as left-back Akashdeep Singh moved into the Aizawl box and managed to cut it back for Kynshi, while two defenders were left watching. This time Lalmuansanga was right there at the first post, but Kynshi’s right-footer was too powerful and too high for him.

Real Kashmir boss Noel Gifton-Williams had to spend a few anxious moments just before the final whistle, as his defenders conceded a free-kick from a spot identical to the one Kynshi used to hit the post in the opening minutes of the match. But the kick only hit the wall for a corner, which did not create any danger.

The win took Real Kashmir to 26 points from 18 matches but they remained in sixth due to their inferior head-to-head record with Churchill Brothers. Aizawl is now seventh with 23 points from 18 games. (ANI)

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