Shillong, Aug 4: Three-time champions Shillong Lajong had a rude welcome in store for Sawmer in a crushing 5-1 result at the JN Stadium today.
Three of the six goals in today’s match were scored in the last 10 minutes of play as Lajong went from leading narrowly by two goals to one to outright victors.
SLFC’s Kenstar Kharshong bagged the opener in the sixth minute before captain Sheen Sohktung doubled the lead in the 20th.
Rheadolf Daloi then converted a penalty in the 62nd minute to put Sawmer back into contention, but the floodgates then opened for Lajong.
Substitute Phrangki Buam scored a brace (82′, 90+2) on either side of Naorem Mahesh Singh’s 88th minute goal as Lajong made full use of counterattacking moves that Sawmer had no answer to.
Lajong were dominant in the first 10 minutes and got their opening goal when Kharshong rose above his marker to head in a Samuel Kynshi free-kick in the sixth minute.
Sawmer only really made their presence felt after a powerful and expertly directed free-kick of their own by Marshall Nongrum saw Lajong goalkeeper Neithovilie Chalieu put the ball out for a corner.
The next few minutes were all Sawmer, that is until Sohktung found Lajong’s second goal, which he did by pushing his way through the defensive line on the back of a good pass and slotting the ball low to Sunshine Kharmuti’s left.
Despite having five goals scored against him, Kharmuti produced some excellent saves over the course of the 90 minutes. In fact TSR at one point thought it would be a game of goalkeepers as Chalieu also had a solid day between the sticks.
Sohktung went close again in the 30th minute, but this time his shot struck the crossbar.
Nongrum once again tested Chalieu in the early in the second half with another free-kick, which he fired in low under the wall, but this was successfully parried out for another corner.
Sawmer really came back into the game around the hour mark when Honour Nongbri was tackled from behind in the penalty box, giving Sawmer the penalty, which Daloi converted.
Pushing their defence up high in support of the attacking players, made Sawmer vulnerable, however, and all of the next three SLFC goals were produced as the result of counterattacks.
First came Buam’s 82nd minute goal. He was fed a nice through ball and then made Kharmuti think he was going the other way before scoring at the near post.
Six minutes later a Sawmer corner was cleared away and fell to Naorem, who ran all the way up the pitch, swerved past one defender and powered the ball into the net.
The final goal saw Kynshi break on the right and tap the ball towards the left for a waiting Buam to punch it into the net for the final strike in a goal fest of a match.
On Monday Malki will take on Nangkiew Irat at 4PM.
(TSR photo. Sawmer are in red, Shillong Lajong in white)