Federation Cup: Aizawl create history to reach their first Fed Cup final

Federation Cup: Aizawl create history to reach their first Fed Cup final

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Aizawl FC held Sporting Clube de Goa to a 2-2 draw in the second leg of their Fed Cup semifinal tie in Goa on Sunday to become the first I-league club to book their place in a Fed cup final after getting relegated. Joel Sunday and Kimkima scored for the visitors to send them into the final.

Sporting Goa XI: Arindam(GK); Clemente, Loveday, Bose, Fulganco; Pratesh; Ganesh, Victorino, Amnah, Nico F; Passi.

Aizawl XI: Poirei(GK); Yuta, Emma, Albert, David(C), Lalmuankima, Jaryan, Joel, Ricky, Lalramchullova, Kimkima.

Having played a 0-0 draw in the first leg away from home, the onus was on Sporting Clube de Goa to score goals at home in order to secure their third final appearance of the Federation Cup. Aizawl, on the other hand, had the chance to pull out another upset win and become the first relegated club to reach the final in the history of the competition.

The Mizoram-based club took the first step in securing that historic berth through Joel Sunday, who has become a cult-hero among the Aizawl fans. The Nigerian scored the all-important away goal and gave his side the lead in the 37th minute. He controlled a wonderful pass from the midfield, before Fulganco Cardozo could bring him down, and slotted the ball past Arindam Bhattacharya in the Sporting goal.

The away goal took penalties out of the equation, and it meant that Sporting needed to outscore Aizawl in order to win the tie. Sumeet Passi gave his team a lifeline just before the referee blew the half-time whistle. Pratesh Shirodkar's corner was headed goalwards by Sporting center back Loveday Enyinnaya, and the ball broke kindly for Passi in front of the Aizawl goal. The forward found the back of the net from close range and restored parity in the game at 1-1.

Passi once again received a wonderful opportunity to score for the Goan club at the start of the second half, but his weak header did not cause any trouble to Soram Poirei. That miss proved costly as Aizawl took back the lead in the 60th minute.

Shirodkar brought down Aizawl captain David Lalrinmuana inside the box when the midfielder went to collect Alfred Jaryan's flick. The referee pointed to the spot immediately, and Kimkima scored from the penalty kick to put his team ahead at 2-1.

Just when the match was seemingly slipping away from Sporting, they brought on Glan Martins in the 78th minute, and the midfielder made it 2-2 after being on the pitch for only a couple of minutes. Loveday's freekick, which was blocked by the wall, fell for Subashish Bose. The defender's effort on goal was kept out by Poirei, however, the rebound reached Martins, who drilled it into the empty net.

Despite their attempt to score the crucial third goal, Sporting failed in their effort and Aizawl secured their way to the final. Their moment was somewhat dampened by the red card received by David Lalrinmuana stages of the match. They will now be without their skipper in the final against Mohun Bagan.

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