Shillong, Jan 29: Shillong Lajong FC crossed a none too positive statistical milestone on Sunday in their I-League match away at Gokulam Kerala, which they lost 3-2.
The second goal scored by the hosts’ Kivi Zhimomi happened to be the 250th that Lajong have conceded in the I-League, our TSR number crunchers have discovered, and the 251st was added in the last minute of normal time.
SLFC are currently in their eighth season of the competition after having made their debut in 2009-10. They were relegated at the end of that year to the Second Division, but bounced straight back and re-entered the I-League in 2011-12 and have been a fixture of the tournament ever since.
Over the seasons Lajong have played 169 matches up until yesterday’s outing against Gokulam. Conceding 251 goals means that just shy of 1.5 goals have been scored on average against the Reds in every I-League game they’ve played. Unfortunately Lajong haven’t been able to score (191) anywhere near what they’ve conceded and this compares quite badly with other teams.
Our TSR statisticians have looked at the goals scored versus goals conceded by Lajong and 10 other selected teams over the years going back to 2009-10, the year SLFC first qualified for the I-League.
The other 10 clubs are those who have played a comparable number of games or who are otherwise relevant (ie we’ve skipped Indian Arrows because the very nature of the development team means that their squad is always in flux, but have included fairly recent entrants Aizawl FC).
Our first table looks at the ratio of goals scored to goals conceded expressed as a decimal. Bengaluru FC (131 goals scored to 79 conceded), who won the I-League title two years out of the four they took part, have the best ratio, while Lajong have the worst (191 to 251).
To put that into perspective, for every 4 goals scored against them Lajong score only 3, while for every 4 put past them Bengaluru scored 6.6 (ie more than double the Shillong team’s ratio).
That sort of statistic would take an almost inevitable toll on the winning ways of any club and, as can be seen from the second table, the goals scored/conceded ratio has a fairly high correlation with the percentage of matches won.
Bengaluru won 54% of their 78 I-League matches (before making the jump to the Indian Super League), while Lajong have won just 29% of their 169, which puts them second-worst in TSR’s sample of teams.
The one positive for Lajong fans to hold on to is that their team are improving. 2009-10 and 2012-13 saw SLFC reach their lowest points in terms of games won – a mere 23% – but this has reversed lately, hitting a high of 39% last season and the team aren’t doing too badly in 2017-18 either – 38.5% – with just five games to go.