Real Kashmir FC sealed a 3-2 win over Yan Law's Aizawl FC in their opening I-League 2021-22 encounter at Kalyani Stadium. Tiago Adnan scored a brace for the IFA Shield winners as they registered full points.
With no foreigners in the starting line-up, Aizawl FC started the game keeping possession with short passes. Whereas, Real Kashmir looked to sit back waiting for the opportunities to pounce. With one such, the Snow-leopards took a lead as early as the eight minutes. Tiago Adnan headed in an inswinging corner from Surchandra Singh in the process.
Scoring the goal, RKFC looked to have gained control over the aspects of the game. The continuous attacks hurled forced the best out of custodian Muansanga. However, Aizawl kept dominating the possession and finally found their equalizer in the 38th minute. Lalthakima Ralte headed in a corner to reduce the parity.
Tiago Adnan scores his second, giving RKFC the lead in the final minute of the half. Muansanga made an outstanding save from Robertson's header from a corner. He was rendered helpless when the Brazilian slotted in the rebound from a close range.
Coming into the second half, Aizawl maintained their possession dominance. Nevertheless, Real Kashmir didn't seem bothered about that. RKFC defender Prakash made a series of brilliant clearances cutting Aizawl's counter-attacks short. However, Aizawl continued to press forward for the equalizer.
The Snow-leopards came close to an extension in the 56th minute when another corner taken by Surchandra found Tiago. The Brazilian shot it straight at Muansanga and thus in vain. Aizawl almost found an equalizer the next minute through a howler but the danger was narrowly averted. Muansanga denied Tiago of a hat-trick in the final minutes of the fourth quarter after Surchandra fed a cross for the Brazilian.
Real Kashmir finally found their third goal of the game in the 66th minute. Captain Mason Robertson slotted past Muansanga from a Thoi Singh assist making it a little hard for the opponents to make a comeback. Aizawl failed to capitalize on the indirect free-kick in the penalty area but it hit the Real Kashmir wall twice in the 77th minute.
With multiple tries, Aizawl FC finally found their much-anticipated goal reducing the goal-cushion. Gaining the ball from a poor clearance, Ramhlunhhunga blasted in a shot from outside the box to make the game interesting. Aizawl kept on chasing the equaliser in the later minutes, the scoreboard remained unchanged.
Real Kashmir banked on the brilliance of Tiago Adnan along with Surchandra Singh to bag all three points. Whereas, Aizawl FC's confusing style of play, followed by the lack of finishing up front resulted in the loss. However, RKFC's victory celebrations were cut short with injury worries after Tiago Adnan had to be stretched off in the 87th minute.
Real Kashmir is set to face Kenkre FC on December 31 next. Aizawl FC on the other hand will be facing the CFL winners Mohammedan SC the previous day.
Real Kashmir FC: Bilal (GK); Prakash, Robertson (c), Kimkima, Abhash; Ganai, Shirodkar, Thoi Singh, Shahnawaz, Surchandra; Tiago
Substitutes - Fran Gonzalez (63'), Rohmingthanga (90')
Aizawl FC: Muansanga (GK); Buanga, Thakima, Nghenga, Felkima; Ayush, MS Tluanga (c), Joseph; Remchunga, Liansanga, Chhunga
Substitutes - Lalhlansanga (78')