Aizawl FC were held to a goalless draw by Sporting Club de Goa in the first leg of their semifinal clash in the Federation Cup football here on Tuesday. Aizawl, who have been high on confidence after knocking I-League champions Bengaluru FC out of the tournament, were able to create very few scoring chances at their home ground at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium.
The game was largely confined to the midfield, with both teams finding it hard to set up clear goal scoring chances. Aizawl FC regularly tried to break past the Sporting Goa defence, while the visiting team looked to catch the home side defence off-guard through counter attacks.
Aizawl started on an attacking note and in the ninth minute, in-form Joel Sunday had a chance to put Aizawl FC in the lead but the lanky forward failed to find the net, curling his shot over the bar as the opportunity went abegging.
A minute later, Lalramchullova’s long shot from 30 yard out, following a clearance by the Sporting defence from an Aizawl corner kick, went inches over the bar.
Although Sporting Goa disrupted their opponents’ attacking flow by initiating counter-attacks sporadically, the Goan club failed to restrict Aizawl FC in their half. Changing over, Aizawl FC had a golden opportunity to open scoring in the 53rd minute when David’s free-kick found Emanuel in the box, but the latter failed to find the net as the opportunity went abegging.
Substitute Albert Zohmingmawia fluffed a golden chance to give Aizawl FC the lead when he failed to find the back of an open net in the 73rd minute after a cross from the left flank, as Aizawl FC upped their ante.
In the 81st minute, Sporting Goa’s custodian Arindam Bhattacharja pulled off a top-draw save as he denied a rasping David shot from outside the box with a strong right hand to keep Sporting Goa in the tie.
Three minutes later, Victorino Fernandes was released onto the goal by a long pass from the Sporting midfield, but he ran into a defence and was unable to apply the finishing touches.
The second leg is on May 15 at Fatorda Stadium.