Ten men Shillong Lajong FC emerged victorious in the final group stage clash against DSK Shivajians FC of the Hero Federation Cup 2017 winning by a score line of 3-2 at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on Friday. Samuela’s stunning display upfront and scoring the winning goal helped him secure the Hero of the Match today.
Interestingly, all the five goals in today’s game came from players hailing from the North East region.
Youngsters, Alen Deory, Redeem Tlang and Samuela were on target for Shillong Lajong while Holicharan Nazary scored a brace for DSK Shivajians. Today’s result amusingly was the same when the two teams met last time on April 8 in Pune in an I-League encounter as Lajong beat DSK by 3-2.
The match kicked off at a rather slow pace as both teams were trying to build momentum. DSK youngster Chhangte alongside Juan Quero and Kim Song were threatening Lajong’s defence on several occasions.
The first real chance of the match fell for Lajong after Samuel Lalmuanpuia crossed the ball from the right to an unmarked Rupert Nongrum, but the latter’s header was rather weak and fell comfortably for Subrata Paul of DSK to collect.
At the half hour mark, Kim Song had to be replaced by Sanju Pradhan after a bad landing from a header. Not content with the proceedings, Thangboi replaced Rupert Nongrum with Bipin Singh in the 33rd minute. Towards the end of the first half, DSK were unlucky not to score after Chhangte, stormed into the box beating his marker but his shot hit both sides of the goal posts and easily collected by goalkeeper Vishal Kaith.
After a goalless first half, the game got very intense in the second session and perhaps saw majority of the chances by both the teams. Shillong Lajong who have been winless so far in the tournament were eager to score goals in the match and pick their first three points from the game. Their search for goals paid off when Alen Deory opened the account for the Reds in the 49th minute, scoring his first goal in a senior competition for Lajong. Redeem Tlang was determined to get inside the box after the ball was not cleared by DSK and his attempt at goal was met by Subrata but the Goalkeepers save did not hinder Alen Deory from meeting it and putting it past the goaline.
DSK made a couple of changes after the goal and created good chances to equalise. They eventually equalised in the 64th minute from Holicharan Nazary after a long ball was not dealt with by Lajong’s defensive line. Lajong however were quick to bounce back as they regained the lead in the 68th minute after an attempted cross by Alen Deory from the right was fumbled by Subrata, who could not stop the oncoming Redeem Tlang from blasting the ball inside the goal.
Lajong were then reduced to ten men in the 75th minute of the match after goalkeeper Vishal Kaith was shown a straight red card for a foul he committed on Changte, outside the box. Phurba Lachenpa came on to take over Vishal’s place and Alen Deory who produced Shillong Lajong’s first goal of the game had to be sacrificed.
Nevertheless, Lajong youngsters fought hard to maintain the lead and thwarted DSK’s attack. The lead was however cancelled out in the 86th minute by Holicharan Nazary with a thunderous left foot. Interestingly, the goal came after Lajong’s pass in the middle of the pitch was deflected away by the referee which led to the possession being given away to DSK.
The game seemed like it was heading into a draw at 2-2 but on the 90+2nd minute, Redeem Tlang fed a through ball to Samuel Lalmuanpuia towards the box and the youngster found himself one on one with the keeper. Samuel Lalmuanpuia remained composed in front of the goalkeeper and made no mistake in scoring the winner for Lajong. After a thrilling encounter at the Barabati today, Lajong beat DSK by 3-2.
Shillong Lajong and DSK Shivajians bow out of the Hero Federation Cup 2017 while Mohun Bagan AC and Bengaluru FC go through to the semi-finals.
(Shillong Lajong FC)