Kalyani, January 9
Pritam Ningthoujam’s spectacular long-range strike helped Punjab FC open their I-League campaign on a winning note as they beat Aizawl FC 1-0 here on Saturday.
Ningthoujam’s 18th-minute goal gave Punjab FC three points in a high-intensity match.
Aizawl FC created clear goal-scoring opportunities throughout the match but failed to convert any one of them.
In the 10th minute, Princewell Emeka tried to backheel a pass to an onrushing Brandon inside the box, whose shot was blocked, as Aizawl FC wasted a golden opportunity to go ahead.
Eight minutes later, Pritam Ningthoujam unleashed a powerful strike from outside of the box to hand the Punjab outfit a 1-0 lead, much against the run of play.
Chencho Gyeltshen could have doubled the lead had his touch inside the box been better after collecting a cross from the right flank.
With all the possession in the final third, Aizawl FC lacked creativity upfront and were easily diffused by Punjab’s defensive line. Despite dominating possession and pressing their opponents constantly, Aizawl FC did not have any goals to show.
The Mizoram side earned a golden opportunity to grab an equaliser in the 62nd minute after Alfred Jaryan found himself inside the box but his shot from a tight angle was blocked by the opponents.
Another opportunity came to Aizawl’s Lalremsanga Fanai in the 73rd minute, when he was put right onto the goal by a defence-splitting through-ball by Laldinpuia. Fanai, with only the goalkeeper to beat, fired his shot right at Kiran Chemjong, who kept the ball out and maintained his clean sheet. PTI