Shillong: Aizawl FC created history by becoming the first team from North East to clinch the I-League title, following their 1-1 draw against Shillong Lajong in the last league match of the season at the JN Stadium in Shillong on Sunday.
Aizawl needed at least a draw against Shillong to win their maiden title in only their second season in the country's top flight competition, but they were made to work hard to realise their dream in front of a partisan crowd.
Lajong dented Aizawl's hopes in as early as the ninth minute of the match when Dipanda Dicka scored the opening goal of the match with a sublime header.
But Aizawl kept persisting - as they have been doing throughout the course of the season - and got a deserved equaliser in the 67th minute of the match through supersub William Lalnunfela.
Dicka almost broke Aizawl's hearts in the dying minutes of the match but it wasn't meant to be as his shot hit the post and trickled away. Aizawl held on to their lives and recorded one of the greatest victories in the history of the Indian football.
After pulling off this historic victory, an elated Khalid Jamil, head coach of Aizawl FC said that this was his biggest history ever.
âItâs not just about me or any individual. It is about the boys. They played continuously and played well. They deserve the credit,â Jamil said.
âThis is my biggest victory ever,â Jamil pronounced. âI always wanted to win the I-League. Every time at the start of the season I used to tell myself that âthis year I should win it.â I had to wait. And today we have won,â he added.
Jamil also revealed what he said to the team when Aizawl were down 1-0 at half-time.
âAt the half-time I just told the boys that you wonât get another such 45 minutes in your life. We knew we were 45 minutes away from being the Champion. We had to be extra special in the second half,â he said at the post-match Press Conference.
With 37 points from 28 matches, Aizawl were a point ahead of Mohan Bagan who beat Chennai City FC on Sunday. The side from the Northeast thus won its maiden I-League title only in its second campaign much to the delight of its faithful who have stood by its side through and thin.