Shillong Lajong FC were defeated by Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan AC by a 0-3 margin in the Hero I-League at the JN Stadium in Shillong on Saturday.
Dipanda Dicka opened the scoring for the visitors in the first half and it was Akram Moghrabi and SK Faiaz who scored in quick successions in the dying minutes of the game.
Lajong made two changes in the starting line up as Lalrohlua came in place of Hardy Cliff and goalkeeper Phurba Lachenpa was brought back in to replace Nidhin Lal. As the match began it was the visitors who were enjoying most of the ball possession in the initial minutes. Lajong had their first chance from a set piece from just outside the box but Captain Samuel Lalmuanpuia’s freekick went above the bar.
It was in the 11th minute when the Reds had their real go at Mohun Bagan’s goal. Swedish striker Saihou Jagne found himself with some space to run inside the box before shooting one from close range just to see it punched away to safety by the Mohun Bagan keeper. Fullback Rakesh Pradhan was, as usual, making his overlapping runs and but wasn’t managing to come up with the final product.
The Reds then had three back to back chances in the opposition box but didn’t manage to open their scoring. The first goal of the game came in the 30th minute and it was the visitors Mohun Bagan who took the lead. Cameron Watson’s delivery from the corner was headed into the back of the net by former Reds striker Dipanda Dicka.
Lajong then had a very few chances to equalise in the following minutes but there wasn’t any final product up front. The final action of the half saw Captain Samuel Lalmuanpuia curl one beautiful free kick from just outside the box but the Mohun Bagan somehow managed to keep away the danger.
The Reds were on the attack from the very first minute of the second half in search of an equaliser. The first chance of the half came when Samuel tried one from the distance but unfortunately, the ball went straight into the keeper’s hands for an easy save. Hardycliff was brought on to replace Lalrohlua and suddenly it was the Reds who were dominating the midfield game play with the majority of the ball possession.
As Lajong were creating chances after chances in the opposition half looking for an equaliser, it was the visitors who managed to double their lead in the 86th minute. SK Faiaz made a blistering run down the left flank and dodged past three defenders before finding Akram Moghrabi who found the back of the nets with his second attempt making it 0-2 for the visitors.
The Reds were looking to get over the second goal by going all out on the attack and it hit the hosts back. It was again Faiaz who found himself with acres of space down the left wing; the midfielder took the matter into his own hands before going for a cool and composed finishing to make it 0-3 for Mohun Bagan.
The referee added on 6 extra minutes at the end of the game, but the Reds didn’t manage to come back with a goal before the final whistle blew.
Shillong Lajong FC will now travel to Punjab as the table topper Minerva Punjab will host The Reds on 7th February at 2 PM.
(Shillong Lajong FC)