The picturesque town of Serchhip played host to the seventh round of the Mizoram Premier League.
This is the third time that the round of matches has been held outside state capital Aizawl. The district headquarters of Champhai (2016) and Lunglei (2017) were the other hosts.
An initiative by the Mizoram Football Association to promote the league the various parts of Mizoram, the eight teams faced each other at Serchhip Sports Complex.
Serchhip and Zoluti
Serchhip has played a role in shaping the history of Mizoram to the modern day.
The early British settlements in northeast India was often raided by the local tribes. In January 1871, a six-year-old girl named Mary Winchester was taken hostage by Mizo chieftains from Alexandrapur Tea Estate in Assam. The child was finally housed in Sailam, a village near modern-day Serchhip – nearly 250 kilometers away.
In October 1871, the British launched a military campaign into modern-day Mizoram. The objective being the rescue of the hostages, including Mary Winchester. A year after her captivity, the British troops reached the village of Sailam and found the young British girl who had “altogether forgotten the English language“. The locals had given her a new name: Zoluti.
After the campaign, the British set military posts in the Lushai Hills, took over the local administration, and ultimately appropriated the region into British India. It also paved the way for Baptist Christianity to spread across the hills.
Mary Winchester was sent to live with her grandparents in Elgin, Moray, in the northern shores of Scotland. She lived to the age of 90. She is still remembered by the locals with this structure bearing her name.
5-goal thriller between Ramhlun North and Electric Veng
Electric Veng FC overcame a stern test from Ramhlun North FC. What was expected to be a routine match for the second-placed team, turned out to a lively encounter in the morning kickoff.
Electric Veng dominated the first half when Lalrintluanga scored in the 7th minute. David Lalchhuanawma doubled the lead in the 36th minute Electric Veng looked comfortable going into the break.
The second half turned out to be a different story. Ramhlun reduced the deficit immediately through John Aplong, as the Nigerian converting his spotkick in the 47th minute.
David Lalchhuanawma scored his sixth goal of the league in the 59th minute to restore the two-goal advantage.
Six minutes later, Ramhlun was reduced to ten men. However, the attacking football continued and Lalremruata made it 3-2 in the 85th minute.
It was a nervy finish for Electric Veng who held on to win the match and maintain their spot in second place with 16 points. Ramhlun North FC remain at the bottom with 2 points.
Chhinga Veng FC remain unbeaten
Chhinga Veng extended their unbeaten run as they beat Chanmari FC by a solitary goal.
Chanmari held on for most of the match in a cold, Saturday afternoon. The first half ended scoreless, which suited Chanmari as they would have taken a point off the runaway leaders.
However, a strike by Lalrammawia in the 73rd minute put Chhinga Veng in the driver’s seat. The league leaders have had three clean sheets in 6 matches and looked comfortable in defending their lead.
The hunt for the equalizer failed to materialize for the Chanmari team as they find themselves in fourth place, but only by a point ahead of Mizoram Police FC.
Chhinga Veng remains on top with 19 points and a healthy goal difference of +7.
Aizawl FC thrash Bethlehem Vengthlang FC
Aizawl FC earned a comprehensive 4-1 victory over Bethlehem Vengthlang FC. The I-League team is now unbeaten in six matches.
Aizawl scored early through F. Lalremsanga in the 9th minute. They continued to control the match with Paul Ramfangzauva and Isak Vanlalruatfela forcing saves from Bethlehem Vengthlang goalkeeper, Eddie.
Kromah converted a penalty to double Aizawl FC’s lead in the 43rd minute. Bethlehem Vengthlang pulled one back through PC Vanlalhruaia in the 49th minute to reduce the deficit. However, six minutes later, Aizawl FC responded through with Lalrinfela. Lalkhawpuimawia scored another goal late in injury time to ensure a convincing win for Aizawl.
Aizawl FC is in third place with 12 points, while Bethlehem Vengthlang FC is in seventh with 2 points, with a better goal difference keeping them away from relegation.
Mizoram Police beat Chawnpui
After succumbing to a defeat in Round 6, Mizoram Police FC was back to winning ways as they beat newcomers Chawnpui FC in the afternoon kickoff on Friday.
Chawnpui FC was able to hold their own against the Police line up for much of the first half. They relied on their goalkeeper Malsawma, who was in the Police’s firing line for most of the first half but managed to the keep the shots from the Police at bay -including a double save from R. Malsawmtluanga and V. Laltanpuia.
Eric Lalsangzuala met with Lalrinzuala´s delivery to break the deadlock in the 40th minute.
Chawnpui almost equalized before halftime through David Laltlansanga, but to be denied by the reflexes of Police custodian Muanawma. Mizoram Police sealed the deal through in the 71st minute. Malsawmfela ran past the ball past the Chawnpui defense to execute a fine finish and seal the three points.
Mizoram Police FC is fifth with 9 points, while Chawnpui is a spot beneath them with 7 points.
Top of the table clash in Round 8
The teams resume play at Aizawl as the reverse fixtures begin in Round 8. The Electric Veng-Chhinga Veng match is the match to watch in this round. The three-point gap between the two will determine the standings for the playoff spot on Oct. 19. Electric Veng would seek to extract revenge on the 2-1 loss in Round 6.
At the other end of the table, the relegation fight between Ramhlun North and Bethlehem Vengthlang will take place on Oct. 18. The previous match had ended 2-2.
Aizawl FC will look to cement their playoff spot as they take on Chawnpui FC on Oct. 18. Consequently, the previous clash had also resulted in a 2-2 draw.
Mizoram Police and Chanmari, two teams which are in contention of the playoff place, will aim for a win. Chanmari FC had repelled the charges of the Police force with a 1-0 win.