Mohun Bagan were denied a lead twice as a determined Shillong Lajong FC forced a 2-2 result in the 22nd round of the I-league in the Kalyani Stadium on Thursday (March 28).
Following a barren first half, Mohun Bagan forged the lead through their Australian striker Tolgay Ozbey in the 52nd minute before Shillong Lajong FC found the equaliser within a minute off Boithang Haokip.
Mohun Bagan regained their lead at the hour mark off substitute Manish Maithani. Mohun Bagan’s lead was neutralised once again as Lajong substitute PC Lahimthara nodded home the equaliser to determine the fate of the match.
The first session did not see much of attacks as both side stuck to a defensive stance. Mohun Bagan had the first opportunity in the first quarter that saw Syed Rahim Nabi missing his header from close. Lajong also had their share of chances.
The first attempt, coming in the 37th minute off their young Portuguese striker Edinho Junior, was tipped over by the Mohun Bagan goalkeeper Shilton Paul.
Lajong’s Japanese midfielder Taisuke Matsugane missed a sitter when the Mohun Bagan defender failed to clear a midfield floater stetting the former with an open chance in the 43rd minute.
Mohun Bagan returned with more purpose after the break and found the lead in the 51st minute when Tolgay showed his class after begin set off by a nice through from his upfront colleague CS Sabeeth. Before Bagan could settle down with the lead a brilliant swerving shot from Boithang restored the equilibrium in the 52nd minute.
Mohun Bagan continued with the pressure and restored the lead off Manish Maithani, who came in the 46th minute for Sushant Mathew. The Mohun Bagan midfielder scored from a nice long-ranger in the 60th minute renewing the home side’s hopes of a win. But the doggedness, that marked Lajong FC’s performance in the match, came to the visitors’ aid as they found the equaliser once again.
Lahimthara, who replaced E. Lyngdoh in the 74th minute, nodded home the Lajong FC goal in the 77th minute when his midfield colleague Haokip set up a fine floater on the Mohun Bagan goalmouth.
After the draw Mohun Bagan had 10 points from 17 matches while Shillong Lajong FC had 21 from 22 matches.
(AIFF Press Release)