Shillong, Dec 4: A crunch SPL eliminator saw reigning champions Shillong Lajong defeat Malki 6-5 in a penalty shootout after normal time and extra time yielded no goals for either side.
Lajong (red) may have lost twice this season to Malki (blue), but pulled off a thrilling win when it mattered most.
There were plenty of chances for either team throughout the match – too many for us to go into detail here – but the Reds had the edge in the first half, while Malki upped their game in the second, backed by their vociferous supporters, drums and firecrackers.
SLFC, fielding a team largely shorn of their I-League players, were hit hard in the second half when Rony C Lalenkima was shown a red card, but Malki couldn’t take advantage of their one-man advantage.
Captain Shaiborlang Kharpan missed first for Lajong, but Malki’s Lambor Nongsiej and Rikmenlang Marwein soon followed suit and that was the end of Malki’s entertaining, dramatic and controversial season.
Lajong will now take on first semifinal losers Langsning for a place in the final on 7th December.