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Shillong Lajong FC pips listless Dempo SC

I-League: Shillong Lajong FC v Dempo SC

I-League: Shillong Lajong FC v Dempo SC

An uninspired Dempo SC proved to be no match for Shillong Lajong FC, who cruised to a 3-0 victory in their Hero I-League clash at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Shillong on Saturday.

Uilliams Souza Silva scored the opener, before Khelemba Meitei doubled the lead in the first half, with Cornell Glen scoring the third in the second session.

In front of a smallish crowd, the match took some time to really get going. The attention of the fans was piqued, however, when Boithang Haokip was brought down around six yards outside the box. Although it looked like he could be used to take the free kick, it was Uilliams who ultimately stepped up for the strike, which he pulled off with consummate ease, hammering it past the Dempo goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani.

Ten minutes later Glen steamed up the middle virtually unchallenged, but he pulled his shot wide of the net. This proved to be one of several near misses for the home team, who seemed to bedazzle the Goan team’s defence.

The Reds extended their lead to two goals following a corner in the 37th minute. Taken by Uilliams, the ball was neatly delivered into the box for Meitei to head it in for a goal on debut in Lajong colours.

In the next few minutes SLFC had a bundle of chances, with Uilliams striking the side netting, a corner being valiantly saved off the line by a defender and Glen having another go that Kattimani was able to collect.

Lajong were forced to make a first half substitution when Pritam Kumar Singh appeared to be injured after a tackle. He made way for Samuel Shadap; the two of them had a lot of responsibility with the injuries that kept Aiborlang Khongjee and Robin Gurung out of action.

However, Dempo coach Trevor Morgan went a couple of steps further when he made all three of his possible substitutions at half time, bringing in Tolgay Ozbey, Mandar Rao Desai and Peter Carvalho.

The game continued to go against Dempo, though, and it was mainly their fault. Just five minutes after the restart, Uilliams was fouled in the box and referee CR Srikrishna had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Dempo did not even protest all that much.

Glen stepped up for the spot kick and neatly converted it, giving him his 10th goal of the season.

Further disaster befell the visiting team when Nirmal Chettri managed to pick up two yellow cards withing a few minutes of each other and was subsequently sent off.

Dempo chances were few and far between. A solid defence by Lajong, in complete contrast to their performance in the last game against Salgaocar, saw them hold off the visitors, forcing long-range shots that were never a danger.

The closest they came to scoring was when Ozbey unluckily hit the post in the 86th minute, summing up Dempo’s day, one they will hope to put behind them as Lajong celebrate only their second victory at home.

(Report courtesy I-League Media)