Chennai City FC held Aizawl FC 1-1 in an I-League 2018-19 clash under the floodlit Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Aizawl, Mizoram, on Friday.
William Lalnufela's (9') early strike was cancelled out by Roberto Eslava (41' pen) who converted from the spot as the defending champions dropped points in successive games.
Aizawl coach Stanley Rozario reinstated Lalnufela into his first 11 in place of Abdoulaye Kanoute. Akbar Nawas made as many as three changes following their 3-1 defeat at the hands of Punjab FC. Pedro Manzi, Shem Marton Eugene and Pradison Mariyadasan made way for Bijay Chhetri, Pravitto Raju and Jishnu Balakrishnan.
The deadlock was broken early as Lalnunfela latched on to a brilliant through ball by Alfred Jaryan to give his side the lead in the ninth minute.
It could have been 1-1 in the 18th minute but Pravitto Raju's header off a Katsumi Yusa free-kick went over. The hosts too missed their opportunity to double their lead as Amadou Sissoko failed to make the best of Lalnunfela's pass in the opponent's box.
Jockson Dhas was guilty of wasting a couple of clear-cut chances for the visitors while Aizawl goalkeeper Lalremruata was at hand to block Mashoor Thangalakath other than Ajith Kumar's long-range effort going inches wide the 35th minute as Aizawl sustained the onslaught.
However, Chawnghlut Lalrosanga conceded a penalty with a handball in the box off Yusa's cross to undo the work put in until then. Eslava converted the penalty in the 41st minute
Lalremruata saved his side's blushes by rushing off his line to sweep the ball off the feet of Mashoor who had snatched the ball from the last man Richard Kassaga in the 54th minute. The teams then cruised to the full-time whistle with nothing to separate between them.
The draw sees no change in position for Aizawl and Chennai City at sixth and seventh respectively, though the Southerners have a game in hand compared to the Mizoram side.