Shillong: Shillong Lajong came from a goal down to hold Bengaluru FC to a 1-1 draw after Uilliams Souza Silva converted a second-half penalty to strike out the goal advantage Sean Rooney had given the Blues with a 45th minute header at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Shillong, on Friday.
Ashley Westwood went into the game with an unchanged line-up from the one that beat East Bengal last weekend against a team that had striker Cornell Glenn missing with a suspension as both teams struggled to ascertain any sort of dominance in a half bereft of too many chances.
But, just as it seemed the Blues would head to the dressing room a frustrated bunch, Westwood’s boys showed why they are a very dangerous side from set pieces. Armed with a freekick on the right, Rooney did well to beat his marker, adjust his body and flick Eugeneson Lyngdoh’s take into the far corner with his head.
Despite starting the second half well, Bengaluru conceded the equalizer
Looking to make most of the lead, Bengaluru came out in the second half with more intent. Some smart work by Lalchhuan Mawia down the left saw the final cross leave Lyngdoh with a great chance to land an early blow. But the midfielder, who was lucky to have the shot after struggling to control the ball at the first chance, skied his attempt.
However, for all the early attacks in the second half, it was Lajong who found the back of the net against the run of play. A seemingly harmless Lajong corner a little beyond the hour mark, proved fatal after Silva’s take caught defender John Johnson’s hand in the box, prompting referee Santosh Kumar to point to the spot.
The Brazilian striker stepped up and smashed his take home after sending Lalthuammawia Ralte the wrong way. The equalizer seemed to infuse sting into Lajong’s attack as the hosts stepped up the chase for a second.
Having already replaced Rooney with Robin Singh at the start of the second half after the Australian’s knee seemed to cause some discomfort, Westwood threw in Udanta Singh for CK Vineeth in a bid to take the attack to Lajong.
Lyngdoh could have sealed the points with a beautiful free kick seven minutes from time only to see it crash off the crossbar after having beaten all and sundry.
The draw takes Bengaluru to 32 points from 17 games while fellow title contenders, Mohun Bagan have the same number of points, but have played a game less. Bengaluru host Indonesian side Persipura Jayapura at the Kanteerava Stadium on May 12th before returning to I-League duties to face Salgaocar at the same venue on May 17th.
|10||Kalyani Bharat FC||16||3||6||7||9||18||-9||15|
|11||Sporting Club de Goa||16||2||8||6||14||23||-9||14|