Shillong, May 24: Shillong Lajong FC and Kerala Blasters will meet in Saturday’s final of the U-18 Youth League after coming through their respective semifinal matches at the JN Stadium here today.
Phrangki Buam (pictured above in white) scored via a free-kick in the 76th minute and via a penalty 10 minutes later to help Lajong take down East Bengal 2-0, while the earlier contest saw the Blasters, who have been involved in close contests right the way through the final round, beat SAI Kolkata 2-1.
Lajong played deep early on as East Bengal harried the home team in the 7PM fixture, but both sides had their chances in the first half. Although the action was more high-paced in this game than the first, neither side could find a breakthrough until Buam delivered a beauty of a free-kick from the edge of the box that went low past the wall and into the net.
A frustrated East Bengal then conceded a penalty in the 86th minute, with a foul on Donboklang Lyngdoh, which SLFC’s No. 14 converted with ease.
In the earlier fixture Kerala Blasters took the lead after a free-kick of theirs was headed straight up by a SAI player and Abdullah scored with an unchallenged header from right in front of the goal.
That happened in the 39th minute and two minutes later the Kolkata team levelled proceedings when the ball was fed to an unmarked Injaman Molla, who sallied into the box and guided the ball low past the goalkeeper.
Soon after the start of the second half Abdullah scored his second goal in the 50th minute when he squeezed the ball towards the goal from a very tight angle on the left flank and SAI keeper Tuhin Goswami could only help it along its way into the back of the net.
The title match will be held on Saturday at the same venue.
(TSR photos. In the featured photo Shillong Lajong are in white, East Bengal red/yellow/black)