Shillong, Mar 14: Langsning FC got their Second Division League campaign off and running with a shaky, but welcome, 2-1 victory over the Chennaiyin FC reserve side at the JN Stadium here today.
Langsning’s Ivory Coast defender Lancine Toure scored the opener in the 25th minute with a header off a set-piece. Chennaiyin’s captain Prosenjit Chakroborty then equalised in the 61st minute with an excellent free-kick and finally the lightning quick Kitboklang Pale retook the lead for Langsning with a delicious left-footed curler in the 83rd.
In the other match in Group C Mohammedan Sporting defeated Jamshedpur FC reserves 2-1 in Kolkata.
On such a big occasion it seemed that Langsning were a little nervous to begin with, conceding a corner in the opening few seconds. However, the hosts quickly got into the rhythm with Kitboklang Pale and Ebormi Buam both going close within the first 15 minutes.
Pale and Buam were among the eight Meghalaya players that Langsning fielded in their first XI, while the opposing team were comprised completely of U-22 players.
Toure, who is well over six feet tall, had no problem heading in Langsning’s welcome goal and from then on the Shillong side exerted tremendous pressure, which the visitors did well to resist.
That being said, Langsning’s aim was a little off in the first half, with the next shot on target only coming in the 36th minute when Donlad Diengdoh forced Chennaiyin’s goalkeeper Samik Mitra into making a stunning save.
The second half started with Langsning continuing to dominate, but their aim continued to be off target as well.
They had to pay the price for that when Chakroborty secured the equaliser just after an hour’s play that silenced the 2,700-plus crowd.
Soon after coach Hering Shangpliang made a quick double substitution, bringing on Stephanson Pale and Ronaldkydon Lyngdoh Nonglait in place of Kynsaibor Lhuid and Kento Sakurai respectively.
Pushing for another goal did sometimes leave Langsning a little open in defence, as in the 68th minute when Rohmingthanga made a good run into the hosts’ half, but his shot was nicely collected by goalkeeper Surjay Kumar Pariyar.
After coming close a few more times LFC netted the winner with less than 10 minutes left on the clock when, from just inside the box, Pale fired off a shot that went to the right of Mitra.
The last few minutes were nervous for the hosts, but they held on for the vital three points. Pale almost got a second goal in stoppage time, but Mitra managed to flick away his attempt.
Langsning will next host Bengaluru FC reserves on 19th March at the JN Stadium.