The eighth season of the Mizoram Premier League kicked off at Aizawl. The Lammual ground was in a festive mood as Indian international Jeje Lalpekhlua kicked off the proceedings, while Robert Lalthlamuana led the oath-taking ceremony for the players from each club.
The eight teams will face off each other twice before the top four sides go into a two-legged semifinal before the finals on December 6th.
Three-time winners Aizawl FC are the defending champions. They will be joined by Chhinga Veng FC (2018/19 runners up), Mizoram Police FC (2018/19 semi-finalist, Chanmari FC (two time champions), Electric Veng FC, Chawnpui FC, Ramhlun North FC, and newly-promoted FC Venghnuai.
Late goal earns a point for Aizawl FC
FULL TIME: Aizawl FC 2-2 Chhinga Veng FC
Aizawl FC: Isak Vanlalruatfela (27′), Lalramhmunmawia (90+4′); Chhinga Veng FC MC Malsawmzuala (43′, [P] 71′)
A goal in injury time denied Chhinga Veng FC a chance to exact revenge on Aizawl FC. A goal in the 94th minute by Lalramhmunmawia helped the defending champions steal a point off last year’s runners-up.
Aizawl FC looked the better team for much of the first half and their control over the game paid dividends when Isak Vanlalruatfela put Aizawl ahead in the 27th minute. All of Aizawl’s good work was undone when defender Juuko Richard was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the penalty box. MC Malsawmzuala stepped up and gave his side an equalizer minutes before the break.
The second half belonged to Chhinga Veng as they create half-chances before MC Malsawmzuala’s freekick was deflected in the 71st minute to give his team the lead.
The runners-up of the 2018/19 I-League 2nd Division were on course to victory before Lalramhmunmawia, the Aizawl FC defender, finished off Joe Zoherliana’s delivery from close range.
FC Venghnuai’s electric start to the campaign
FULL TIME: Electric Veng FC 1-1 FC Venghnuai
Electric Veng FC: Israel Laldingngheta (10′, [OG]); FC Venghnuai: Vanlalthanga (82′)
The season opener between Electric Veng FC and FC Venghnuai ended in a 1-1 draw. The newly-promoted side had a horror start when a header from FC Venghnuai defender Israel Laldingngheta ended up in the back of his own net on the 10th minute.
Much to their credit, Venghnuai’s backline and goalkeeper, RS Lallawmzuala, prevented Electric Veng from capitalizing on the early goal. Electric Veng thought they had doubled the lead late in the first half when Zawnhmingthanga found the back of the net, but the goal was ruled offside.
The second half was a tight affair, but it was a freekick from Vanlalthanga who equalized for FC Venghnuai on the 82nd minute. Minutes later, FC Venghnuai defender Lalmuanawma was sent off but Electric Veng could not make use to the numerical advantage with a few minutes left to play.
Police take the sting out of Chawnpui comeback
FULL TIME: Mizoram Police FC 2-1 Chawnpui FC
Mizoram Police FC: F Lalrinpuia (14′), Lalhmunmawia (49′); Chawnpui FC: C Lalremruata (74′)
In a bid to avenge the 6-1 drubbing at the hands of their opposition in the MFA Super Cup, Chawnpui FC started the match on the front foot against Mizoram Police.
However, it was the Policemen who delivered the sucker punch by scoring with their first chance they created through Lalbiakhlua. The situation got worse for Chawnpui early in the second half when Lalhmunmawia heading in a freekick delivery from R. Malsawmtluanga to double the lead for the Police team.
Chawnpui FC hit back through Lallawmsanga in the 74th minute but was left empty-handed at the final whistle. The Police was ahead at every step and every move they made.
Chanmari start the campaign with a bang
FULL TIME: Chanmari FC 3-1 Ramhlun North FC
Chanmari FC: H Lalmuankima (16′), Lalnunzama (54′), MS Dawngliana (90+4′); Ramhlun North FC: Jessey Vanlalmuana (44′)
Chanmari FC registered a 3-1 victory over Ramhlun North FC at Lammual. The two-time champion of the MPL went ahead early in the match at Lammual through Lalmuankima.
Ramhlun North FC, who had to earn their place in the league through the playoffs, equalized minutes before the half time break through their skipper Jessy Vanlalmuana.
Chanmari regained the lead through a wonderful goal by Lalnunzama. The Chanmari talisman wrong-footed his marker as he went inside from the left turning the defender and finishing off with his right into the top corner.
Ramhlun North almost retaliated with Lalnunzria and Lalmawizuala was denied by Zothanmawia, the best goalkeeper from last season.
The match was put to bed in injury time when last year’s top scorer MS Dawngliana got his name on the scoresheet.