Aizawl FC created history by becoming the first football club from the North-East to win the I-League title after a well-deserved 1-1 draw against Shillong Lajong FC on April 30. Considered as a team of rejects, Aizawl FC overcame all odds to clinch the I-League title which shocked everybody.
However, the win for Aizawl didn’t come easily. The opponent team, Lajong had taken the early lead when centre-forward Asier Pierrick Dipanda slammed home a header in the 9th minute. And this complicated things for the visitors as they needed at least a draw to win the title.
But Aizawl recovered from the setback to dominate the game thereafter. Despite some stout defending by the hosts, William Lalnunfela finally made sure that Aizawl won the title when he found the equalizer in the 67th minute.
Taken as an underdog in the tournament because of their dismal performance in the previous season, winning the I-League title came as a shocker to everyone.
Interestingly, unlike other clubs who go talent hunting around the country, Aizawl believed on local talents, besides their usual foreign quota. And through their foreign quota, the team soon got one of their best player from war-ravaged Aleppo ‘Mahmoud al Amna’.
Aizawl’s midfielder Mahmoud al Amna belongs from Aleppo. Even during his games and practise, Amna would frequently be updated about suicide attacks and blasts in his neighborhood. Several of his friends have been killed in the attack..
Apart from three players (two from Mumbai, one Goan), all Indian players in the squad are from Mizoram in the team.
Despite the setback, Aizawl continued to dominate and created chances at regular intervals and capped off their fairy tale run to the title by finishing with 37 points in 18 matches.