Aizawl FC and Sporting Clube de Goa played out a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Federation Cup semifinal tie at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Aizawl on Tuesday. Neither team created too many goalscoring opportunities in this game as Sporting managed their third clean-sheet in a row.
Aizawl have been the talk of the town recently. The Mizoram-based club's heroics against newly crowned I-League champions Bengaluru FC in the quarter final of the Federation Cup has spawned online petitions to save them from relegation, with nearly every Indian football fan backing the cause.
Meanwhile, their opponent Sporting booked their place in the semis with two hard-fought 1-0 wins over Mumbai FC in both the legs. Sporting manager Mateus Costa made two changes to the team in played in the second leg against Mumbai – Mahrajuddin Wadoo and Mahmoud Al Amnah returned to the starting lineup.
Aizawl made a lively start to the game, and Sunday tried his luck from the distance in the fifth minute. The Aizawl forward gave Wadoo, Sporting's right back, a hard time on the pitch in the first half as the home side dominated possession of the ball.
Surprisingly, Rowling Borges was replaced by Ndidi Chukwuma in the 39th minute, in what looked like a tactical change. However, the change did not do much to lift Sporting's attack, and both the teams headed into the halftime break tied at 0-0.
The second half as well did not see too many chances created by either of the teams. The best moment of the half arrived in the 80th minute when Aizawl skipper David drilled in a thunderous shot from out of the box and it looked destined for the top corner. However, Arindam Bhattacharya produced a stunning save with his left hand to deny Aizawl the crucial lead.
It turned out to be an underwhelming game of football, and both the teams will look for drastic improvement when they face each other in the second leg in Goa on Sunday.