Lalkhapuimawia struck a brace as Churchill Brothers blanked Punjab FC 3-0 to begin their I-League campaign on a winning note at Margao on Sunday. (More Football News)
Lalkhapuimawia scored at the stroke of half time and in the 81st minute before skipper Willis Plaza added another one in the 70th minute.
The duo of Trinidadian Robert Primus in defence and Ghanaian midfielder Kalif Alhassan made the Churchill lineup and started against their former club. Talisman and skipper Plaza led the line, with Dawda Caesay behind him.
Also making his club debut was former Aizawl FC forward Lalkhapuimawia.
Punjab FC, on the other hand, went with a traditional 4-3-3 formation. Anwar Ali started in the heart of defence, with former East Bengal man Sanju Pradhan in midfield. Dipanda Dicka started up front, making his Punjab debut.
The match began on a high tempo as both sides pressed and looking to pounce at the slightest of opening.
Churchill had the better of the exchanges in the first half, eventually scoring their first goal in added time of the half.
Ponif Vaz delivered a cross in, which took a nudge off Anwar Ali and fell to Lalkhapuimawia, and the Mizo forward made no mistake in scoring on his debut and giving Churchill the lead.
Punjab FC came out after half-time as a more organised unit. However, Churchill doubled their lead in the 70th minute, when a darting run down the middle by Gambian Dawda Cessay paid dividends as he found Plaza, who scored with a clinical right-footer.
The game was put beyond any doubt when Israel Gurung, in the 81st minute, lobbed one over the Punjab defence with Lalkhapuimawia as the target. With a defender on his shoulder and keeper Bhaskar Roy in his peripheral vision, Lalkhapuimawia unleashed an acrobatic scissor kick from outside the box to seal his home debut with a potential goal of the season contender.
Punjab tried, but failed to stitch together any real threat for the remainder of the game. Anwar Ali had a match to forget and he was shown a red card in the dying stages.