Aizawl FC beat TRAU FC 2-0 to register their first home win of the I-League 2019-20 season on Tuesday at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Aizawl.
Substitute Abdoulaye Kanoute scored a brace (75', 87') to seal three points for the hosts.
Aizawl climbed to the sixth position on the league table with 14 points from 11 matches. TRAU, on the other hand, remained fourth with 15 points from 12 matches.
Stanley Rozario altered the winning combination of Aizawl FC as last match’s goal scorer Matias Veron returned to the starting lineup, replacing Abdoulaye Kanoute and Joe Zoherliana replaced Richard Kassaga.
Nandakumar Singh, on the other hand, made five changes to the TRAU lineup which lost 0-5 in the Imphal derby. Abhishek Das, Sandeep Singh, Tanmoy Ghosh, Premjit Singh and Robinson Singh made way for Dinesh Singh, Denechandram Meitei, Deepak Devrani, Joseph Olaleye and Joel Sunday.
The match got off to a scrappy start as both teams failed to control the match. Too many long balls and wayward passes constantly disrupted the flow of the game.
The first real chance fell to the hosts in the 31st minute when William Lalnunfela received a long ball from Paul Ramfangzauva inside the box. The former Mohun Bagan player trapped the ball with his chest and found himself one-on-one with the TRAU custodian Mithun Samanta but failed to score.
After a boring goalless first half, both teams started the second half on a brighter note. Joel Sunday came close to breaking the deadlock in the 54th minute after he received a cross from the right flank inside the box. With a body feint, he went past Lalrosanga before unleashing a shot but Aizawl defender Joseph Adjei threw his body on the line of the shot and blocked the ball.
Aizawl drew first blood in the 75th minute when substitute striker Abdoulaye Kanoute converted a clinical header off Lalthlalova's cross from the left flank.
The Malian forward then doubled the lead in the 87th minute with a simple tap in after skipper Alfred Jaryan's free-kick from nearly 40 yards came off the crossbar.