Shillong Lajong FC shared the spoils with Mohun Bagan AC in a feisty I-League Round 9 encounter at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Shillong after the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
The game started off in a very midfield dominated manner as both the teams never made any serious attacking plays, keeping possession in midfield. In the 27th minute, Lajong’s custodian Vinay Singh was put into action to save a 30-yard free kick from Japanese midfielder Katsumi off for a corner. This was the first of the many attacking developments from both The Reds and The Mariners. These attacking plays resulted in a penalty for Lajong as Uilliams was brought down in the penalty box by Bagan defender Echezona who was sent off for picking up his second yellow. It was Cornell Glen who turned it in and gave the home side the lead in the 38th minute. Cornell Glen scored on his first appearance for The Reds after missing two games due to injury.
The Mariners down to ten men did not take too long to respond as they got the scores level again in the 40th minute after a brilliant 30 yard shot from Zakeer Mundampara was deflected into the net, leaving Vinay Singh wrong footed. The game carried on at a fast pace and with frustration mounting on both sides as a tussle broke down after Bagan’s Katsumi was fouled by Cornell Glen. The tussle resulted in a send off for Lajong’s Jibon Singh and a yellow card for Glen. The first half ended on a good note with both teams all squared at 1-1.
The second half started with both the sides on ten men with the same pace from the latter stages of the first half as both teams created dangerous chances. The half also saw the appearance of the former Lajong defender Aiborlang Khongjee replacing Shankar Oraon, making his first appearance after his recall to the national squad.
Japanese midfielder Taisuke Matsugae also came in for Lajong in place of Jacob Lalrawngbawla in the 46th minute and proved a threat against the Kolkata side. Both sides made tactical changes in the second half with Thangboi Singto bring on Subash Singh for Tuboi in the 59th minute and Bencherifa bringing on Ahmed Khan for Manish Bhargav.Substitue Taisuke Matsugae almost put the home side in front in the 73rd after dribbling past Adil and Denson and saw his shot saved brilliantly by Mariner’s keeper Shilton Paul. Man of the match Shilton Paul produced numerous saves to deny the home side and kept the scores level after waves and waves of Lajong attacks.
The home side almost went ahead again after Glen’s header was saved off the line in the 74th minute. The Kolkata side made their last change bringing on Shaiju Mon for goal scorer Zakeer Mundampara. Lajong proved to be the better side at the final whistle after dominating play after the 73rd minute. The match ended with both teams levelled at 1-1.
After this draw Shillong Lajong FC are sitting in the 5th position with 13 points from 9 games whereas Mohun Bagan AC are still struggling in 8th position with 10 points from 8 games.