I-League: Shillong Lajong and Mohun Bagan play out entertaining draw
Shillong Lajong FC shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw with Mohun Bagan AC in a feisty I-league round nine encounter at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The game started-off in a very midfield dominated manner as both the teams never showed any serious attacking intent, both trying to keep possession in midfield. In the 27th minute, Lajong's custodian Vinay Singh was in action to save a 30-yard free-kick from Japanese midfielder Katsumi Yusa. This was the first of the many attacking developments from both The Reds and The Mariners.
These attacks resulted in a penalty for Lajong as Uilliams was brought down in the penalty box by Mohun Bagan defender Echezona who was sent off for picking up his second yellow of the match. It was Cornell Glen, who returned from injury, giving the home side the lead in the 38th minute. But the Mariners down to ten men did not take too long to respond as they got the equaliser only two minutes later after a brilliant 30 yard shot from Zakeer Mundampara was deflected into the Lajong 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 out between both teams 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 though the referee could have carded more players of both sides. The first half ended on a good note with both teams all square 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 first call-up 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 S. Tuboi in the 59th minute and Bencherifa bringing on Ahmed Khan for Manish Bhargav. Substitute Taisuke Matsugae almost put the home side infront in the 73rd minute after dribbling past Adil and Denson and saw his shot saved brilliantly by Mariner’s keeper Shilton Pal.
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 goalscorer Zakeer Mundampara. Lajong proved to be the better side at the final whistle after dominating play in the last quarter of the game, but the match ended with both teams levelled at 1-1.
After this draw Shillong Lajong FC are sitting in fifth position with 13 points from nine games whereas Mohun Bagan AC are still struggling in eighth position with 10 points from eight games.