Shillong, May 21: Shillong Lajong FC’s 2-1 victory over FC Goa here today was more than enough to book their place in the semifinal round of the U-18 Youth League.
Leading Group D with only FC Goa a threat to their top spot, Lajong only needed a draw to progress, but went one better by beating their opponents, courtesy goals from Donboklang Lyngdoh and Samuel Kynshi.
Lyngdoh scored the first goal from inside the box after some nice combination play with Kynshi in the 22nd minute.
Then, in the 61st minute, Kynshi won the ball on the wing after great persistence and passed the ball to the centre of the box for Parvaj Bhuiya to shoot. He was denied twice by the opposition goalkeeper, but the second attempt resulted in the ball bouncing back towards Kynshi, who put it into the net.
FC Goa clawed a goal back in the 66th minute via a penalty taken by Lalawmpuia, but they couldn’t find any more openings and 2-1 in favour of SLFC was how the game ended.
Lajong are the only team to have won all three matches in the group stage and will be looking to benefit from some home advantage when they take on East Bengal in the second semifinal on 24th May at the JN Stadium at 7PM. Before that Kerala Blasters will face SAI Kolkata at 3PM.
SAI Kolkata topped Group A on goal difference over Tata Football Academy (+5 to +4), while East Bengal had a one-point advantage over SAI Trivandrum (7 to 6) in Group B. Group C was the closest of the lot, with Kerala Blasters coming through in front of Bengaluru FC on goals scored (6 to 3), with both sides tied on seven points each as well as having a goal difference of +2. It was far more comfortable for Lajong, who finished at the top of Group D with nine points, while FC Goa have just four.
Sporting Clube de Goa 0 – 2 SAI Kolkata
Tata Football Academy 1 – 0 Sudeva FC
Bengaluru FC 1 – 0 Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools
Kerala Blasters 3 – 2 DSK Shivajians
SAI Trivandrum 2 – 1 Minerva Punjab
FC Pune City 0 – 0 East Bengal
FC Goa 1 – 2 Shillong Lajong FC
Ozone Football Academy 0 – 2 Aizawl FC
(Photo contributed by Shillong Lajong FC)