Bhubaneswar: An injury time goal by Laldanmawia Ralte helped East Bengal to notch up a thrilling 1-0 win over Aizawl FC and seal the first semifinal spot of the Hero Super Cup on Sunday.
A former Aizawl midfielder, Ralte scored the solitary goal of the match from the spot late into injury time to break the deadlock after both the teams fought tooth and nail during the regulation time.
The first half began on a slow note but East Bengal FC soon caught up and started attacking in quick succession through Syrian Mahmoud Al Amna and Nigerian Dudu Omegbemi.
But the Mizoram outfit showcased their class by denying East Bengal. Aizawl FC did put up an attack with a few shots on the goal as well but couldn't find success in their attempts.
It was the Bengal outfit however who came really close to scoring on a couple of occasions but some brave goal keeping from Aizawl FC goalkeeper Lalawmpuia ensured that the first 45 minutes of the game ended evenly balanced without any goals being scored.
The second half began with East Bengal pressing hard to score but Lalawmpuia was too tough for the Red & Golds to pass through.
It was Lalawmpuia's heroics at the goal post that kept Aizawl FC alive in the game till the last minute before the youngster made the only mistake of the game conceding a penalty in the last minute of the injury time.
Aizawl FC had missed their closest chance to score a few seconds back through Andrei Ionescu.
Ralte made no mistake in converting the penalty to his favour, and sealing their semi-final spot at the Hero Super Cup 2018.
The second quarterfinal of the Hero Super Cup will be played between Hero I-League outfits Mohun Bagan and Shillong Lajong FC on April 11.