Chennai City and Shillong Lajong played a goalless stalemate in an I-League encounter held today afternoon in Coimbatore. It was Shillong Lajong’s final away game of the season.
The first half kicked off brightly for the host, Chennai City when their Captain, Soosai Raj found himself one on one with the keeper, Nidhinlal inside the box but the shot slightly deflected the keeper and hit the post, turning away for a corner. A couple of minutes later, at the other end, Lajong Striker, had the ball inside the box and beat the defender but his eventual shot was weak and went straight to the keeper.
As the game wore on, it seemed the heat prevented swift play by either of the teams and ground conditions too were a hindrance for free-flowing football. The best chance for Lajong fell in the 19th minute when Samuel took a free kick which was met by Aiban, but the latter’s header was tipped over the bar by the keeper. Soosai Raj, Rakic and Joachim were looking dangerous for the host and kept threatening the defence on several occasions. Lajong replaced Alen Deory in the 37th minute with youngster Kynsai Khongsit which seemed like a tactical substitution to thwart the attack on the wings.
Just before the first half ended, Chennai had a chance to take the lead when Rakic beat the defence on the left to drill it back inside the box for Joachim to take a shot, but it was brilliantly parried away to safety by Nidhinlal.
Chennai City continued to dominate possession in the second half and pressed forward to take the lead but Lajong’s defence remained compact and kept the attack in check.
The host was creating a lot of chances but every time, the visitors have defended well. Shaiborlang Kharpan was brought on in the 64th minute to replace Abdoulaye Koffi for Lajong. The visitors could have taken the lead in the 67th minute when Jagne battled two defenders and the keeper to control the ball and headed the ball towards goal, but his attempt was cleared off the line. Soosai Raj had a great chance to convert his chance in the 73rd minute when he beat the defender from the left and took a powerful shot but it was equally met with a powerful save by the keeper away for a corner. A minute later, Chennai City’s new recruit, Kim found himself inside the box and in front of the keeper, and he chipped the ball over the keeper, but fortunately, Rakesh tracked back and had to make a goal line clearance. Chances kept coming for both teams but neither was able to capitalise. The game thus ended goalless after a hard fought 90 minutes.
Lajong remains in the 5th position with 18 points from 16 matches and will return home for their next home match against Aizawl FC on the 19th of February 2018.
(Shillong Lajong FC)