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Ranti Martins Hat-Trick saves East Bengal Title Hopes

Aizawl FC squandered a two goal lead to suffer a 2-3 defeat against East Bengal FC. Aizawl FC were reduced to 9 men in the towards the end of the game thanks to red card to Emmanuel Chigozie (70') and L. Lalranchullova (88').

Jahar Das made as many as four changes to the playing XI as several players were plagued with injury. Zothanmawia, Albert and Lalmuankima were deemed unfit and made way for Soram Poirei, Brandon Valpuia, Lalbiakhlua and Joel Sunday.

Biswajit Bhattacharya, who came under heavy fire by fans after losing consecutive matches against less fancied opponents, made six changes to the team. Luis Berreto replaced TP Rehneesh between the sticks and Joaquim Abranches made it to playing XI in place of Do Dong Hyun. Harmanjot Singh Khabra and Sehnaj Singh featured in the defence as Arnab Mondal, Soumik Dey and Rahul Bheke warmed the benches. Local Hero Shylo Mama as well as Ricky Lalthlamuana also made it to playing XI.

Aizawl FC, who came into the game after a 9-day rest started as the better one off the two teams and dominated the match from start. Brandon Valpuia opened the scoring for the home team in the 19th minute. Yuta Kinowaki found space and curled the ball from right to Alfred Jayran who went past his marker to feed the ball towards Brandon who slotted the ball into the nets.

Yuta Kinowaki doubled the lead for Aizawl FC in the 58th minute when Lalram Chullova released the ball to the Japanese mid fielder inside the six yard box who lobbed the ball past Luis Barretto.

Things started to go south for the home team in the 67th minute when Emmanuel Chigozie brought down fellow Nigerian, Ranti Martins in a harsh tackle, inside the box earning himself a direct Red card and a penalty for the Red & Gold. Ranti took the spot kick and sent Aizawl FC's keeper, Poirei the wrong way and slotted the ball into the right corner of the net.

Aizawl FC were dwarfed by the absence of their 11th player as East Bengal as they started pressing more confidently. Ranti Martins equalised five minutes before the regulation time. Bikash Jairu made a daring run on the left flank and made a pin point cross into the box where Martins guided the ball into the nets with a header.

Two minutes later, Ranti Martins scored his hat-trick and winner for his team when he slotted the ball into the nets after receiving an accurate pass from Mohammed Rafique. 

Adding salt to injury, Aizawl FC were reduced to 9 men in the 90th minute when Lalram Chullova was given the marching orders after receiving 2nd booking of the match.

This win consolidates East Bengal FC's 3rd position on the league table as they have 20 points in 11 games. Aizawl FC on the other hands are staring at relegation as they have won only two games in 11 matches and are at the bottom with 9 points.