A sturdy defence and a battling midfield were the basis for both victories of FC Venghnuai and Electric Veng FC as a series of fine rearguard action proved to be decisive in setting up an exciting final for the NEXA Independence Day Celebration Trophy.
Aizawl FC 0 – 0 FC Venghnuai
(FC Venghnuai win 4-3 via penalty shootout)
Aizawl FC dominated possession in the first semifinal but a sturdy setup from Venghnuai FC ensured that they found chances at a premium.
And when the former champions do find their space in the attacking third, Venghnuai FC goalkeeper R.S. Lallawmzuala stepped up to produce a series of spectacular saves to keep his side in the game.
Alfred Jaryan almost nicked a winner in the end only to be denied by the woodwork right before the end of regular time.
Penalties were needed at the end to determine the winner and it was Venghnuai FC who proved to be the more clinical with a 4-3 tie-breaker score.
Chhinga Veng FC 0-1 Electric Veng FC
(39′ Jacob Lalrawngbawla)
A brilliant Jacob Lalrawngbawla proved to be enough for Electric Veng FC as they overcame current champions Chhinga Veng FC in the second match of the evening.
Chhinga Veng FC controlled proceedings in the first half but struggled to create meaningful openings, which, in hindsight would prove to be heartbreaking later on.
Jacob Lalrawngbawla struck a freekick to perfection against the run of play on the 39th minute to trigger immense cheer from the on-looking crowd.
Electric Veng FC improved after the break with Jacob having immense influence on proceedings. The midfielder provided two decisive final passes while he himself came close to scoring twice.
Chhinga Veng FC substitute M.C. Malsawmzuala had a great opportunity to equalise late on but his effort sailed just past the net, ensuring a deserved victory for Electric Veng FC.