Aizawl FC earned a 2-1 win over New Radiant SC on Matchday Six of the AFC Cup 2018 – Group E at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati to knock the Maldivian side out of the competition on Wednesday evening.
After a goalless first half, the home side had to wait until the 61st minute to break the deadlock through Leonce Dodoz Zikahi. The Ivorian striker fired home from the spot after Andrei Ionescu was tripped inside the box as he attempted to round goalkeeper Imran Mohamed.
Ionescu doubled Aizawl FC’s lead eight minutes from time after he latched onto Renthlei Laldinliana’s long pass and outpaced his marker before beating the goalkeeper on the second attempt after seeing his initial shot denied by Mohamed but fell back into his path, allowing him to make a simple finish into the empty net.
New Radiant SC boss Oscar Bruzon introduced striker Ibrahim Atheeq after Aizawl FC’s second, and the number 12 repaid his manager’s faith instantly, getting on the end of Jorge Gotor’s nodded pass to finish past goalkeeper Avilash Paul and pull one back for the Maldivians.
Atheeq’s strike proved merely a consolation for New Radiant SC whose 2018 AFC Cup campaign ended at the group stage after failing to get the win needed to edge Bengaluru FC to the top spot, while Aizawl FC with their first-ever Asian level win helped their Indian rivals to move into the knockout stage.