Real Kashmir beat Aizawl FC 1-0 in their I-league encounter at the TRC TUrf Stadium in Srinagar on Wednesday courtesy of a solitary goal from Bazie Armand (31'). With this win Real Kashmir climb to the fourth spot with 10 points from six matches.
Real Kashmir coach David Robertson made a bold decision of leaving out Aaron Katebe out from the matchday squad and accommodated new recruit Abed Kofi Tetteh in the starting line-up to add more firepower in the attacking department.
Meanwhile, Gift Raikhan got the services of Kareem Nurain at the back who passed a late fitness test to feature in the starting line-up.
It was a frenetic start to the match as both teams were looking to draw first blood. The first significant chance of the game fell for the hosts when Nagen Tamang floated a delightful cross from the flanks towards the far post for Surchandra Singh but the latter could only find the side-netting from close range.
Kashmir did not have to wait long for their eventual winner when Bazie Armand rose the tallest inside the six-yard box to get his head to a corner floated in by Singh. Gurpreet Chahal failed to punch away and Paul Ramfangzauva could not time his jump to prevent Armand from heading the ball.
Aizawl started to show more urgency after falling behind but was not being able to produce the final ball which could trouble the hosts. Credit must be given to Mason Robertson and Loveday Okechukwu as well as the duo kept Leonce Dodoz and Ansumana Kromah at bay for the entire opening 45 minutes.
The best chances of the match came in the second half for Aizawl FC. Bilal was called to action around the hour-mark when Paul tried his luck from distance and the keeper had to dive low to his right to parry the ball away to safety.
Raikhan rang in the changes after the hour-mark to freshen things up in the middle but the substitutes could not provide the creativity. In the 86th minute, Kromah had an empty net to aim for after he skipped past Bilal but could not maintain his balance thereafter, as his shot sailed over the crossbar.
Real Kashmir will next host Shillong Lajong on December 11 while Aizawl FC will continue their journey on the road as they are set to travel to Goa to take on Churchill Brothers in their next match.