The first I-League Northeastern derby of the season was played out between Shillong Lajong and Aizawl FC in Shillong today. This fixture has been one of the most exciting encounters in Indian football in recent times.
Last year both the teams finished close to each other at the fifth and sixth place in the league standings, divided by just two points.
Both the teams came into the game with a positive mindset and wanted to win the game, to get their respective I-League seasons of too a bright start.
It was Lajong who took the early lead in the first half through a Mahesh Singh wonder strike. The first half ended with the scoreboard reading 1-0 to Lajong.
Naorem extended Lajong's lead in the second half to give Lajong a two-goal lead in the 50th minute.
Ansumana Kromah did pull one back for the former Champions Aizawl in the 70th minute from the penalty spot.
The Match ended with the Red of Shillong defeating Aizawl 2-1 to get their I-League season off to the perfect start.
On that note, let's take a look at the five talking points of the game.
#5 Lajong's decision to field an all Indian squad in the I-League pay's off
Shillong Lajong has never managed to reach the heights in the I-League like its Northeastern counterparts NEROCA and Aizawl FC, but still, it is the biggest name in Northeastern football.
Reason? Well, no other top tier team in India has produced more players in India than Shillong Lajong. Be it ISL or the I-League Lajong's academy and grassroots programs players have been playing in both the leagues and making a name for themselves.
During the previous season in the ISL draft/Auction Lajong made a big name for itself by becoming the first club to earn around three crores in Indian football through player sales.
Lajong is often referred to as the Southampton of India given their aim of producing young talents and fielding home-produced players rather than buying them.
Today Lajong fielded an eleven which is entirely homegrown and have at some point or the other come through the Lajong system.
With a lot of media houses and critics predicting Lajong to be relegation contenders the players and the team today showed them that their analysis of the team could be a few points away from the truth.