Shillong Lajong FC shared the spoils with Churchill Brothers SC in the 7th Round of the I-League at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Monday after the match ended with the scores levelled at 2-2.
Both teams started the game without any spark in their plays even though Shillong Lajong had most of the possession. Churchill Brothers though got their first goal in the 6th minute with a freakish deflection from Bineesh Balan after a good low cross from Balwant Singh. The goal brought some life into the otherwise sloppy first half and Lajong made a few good attacking plays following the goal.
Subash Singh was brought down inside the penalty box in the 21st minute and Lajong were awarded a penalty which was converted successfully by Milan Singh in the bottom corner, his first goal of the season. The goal brought the 9500 strong crowd alive at the J.N. Stadium as they cheered their team for the lead. The game found its pace as both teams launched some promising attacking plays. After some brilliant end to end play, Lajong got the upper hand in the 34th minute much to the crowd’s delight as Uilliams Silva drove inside the box and fired his shot in the bottom corner as it went past Churchill Brothers‘ custodian Arindam Bhattacharya whose save was in vain. Lajong kept pressing after the goal and ended the first half on a winning scoreline.
Both teams made halftime changes to their lineup with Lalramluaha coming on for Lajong in place of Taisuke and Jaison coming on for the defending champions in place of Micky Fernandes. The second half started the same way as the first with both teams struggling to find their game. The visitors looked eager for the equaliser and their first win of the season as Hugo Machado led the midfield line with some dangerous plays that almost put his team in front. Hugo’s 20 yard shot in the 64th minute turned out to be the first real chance of the half as he forced Lajong’s keeper Vinay Singh at full stretch to deny the equaliser.
Mariano Dias made a 65th minute change bringing in Thangjam Singh for Alesh Sawat and brought Jaison back to the bench in the 71st minute replacing him with Anthony Perreira while Lajong coach Thangboi Singto brought off striker Tuboi in the 79th minute replacing him with Redeem Tlang in what turned out to be a gamble for Lajong.
The Reds were on course for their first win at home until Wailadmi Passah launched a wild tackle giving Churchill Brothers the free kick from merely 20yards out. Hugo took his chances, scoring a brilliant free kick in stoppage time to silence the home crowd. Lajong made one last change saving the legs of Brazilian striker Uilliams Souza Silva after a brilliant man of the match display and brought on Biping Singh in stoppage time. They played out the game with no clear cut chances, ending the match in a 2-2 draw much to the disappointment of the home fans.
With this draw, Shillong Lajong have 9 points from 7 games and Churchill Brothers are still stuck in the relegation zone with 3 points from 6 games.
The home team will take on Mohammedan Sporting on November 8 in the 8th Round of the I-League at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Shillong.