Shillong, Aug 30: Rangdajied United held onto their lead in the Shillong Premier League standings with a 1-1 draw against defending champions Langsning at the JN Stadium here today.

This was the first time in five games that RUFC haven’t been victorious, while it was also the second consecutive draw for Langsning. Both teams are the only ones to remain unbeaten in this edition of the SPL. Rangdajied now have 13 points and Langsning 11.

Donlad Diengdoh, who made his first start of the season, put Langsning into the lead in the 27th minute, but Rangdajied equalised in the second half with a penalty conversion by Wallamsuk Nongkhlaw before an hour’s play.

Rangdajied started the game by testing the waters and playing at their own pace, while Langsning were in a hurry right from the beginning. Besides Diengdoh, Donborlang Nongkynrih also got his first start for Langsning and was positioned as right back, perhaps with an eye to mark the speedy Reson Malngiang of Rangdajied.

In the 27th minute Diengdoh made a strong charge forward to meet a header from Figo Syndai. Rangdajied’s Mebankhraw Wahlang unintentionally helped it forward and the Langsning No. 13 handled the bounce and powered the ball past Padam Chettri.

In the very next minute Diengdoh fired in another attempt, but this Chettri put it out for a corner.

Then in the 35th minute Rangdajied thought they had the equaliser, but the goal was disallowed for an infraction. There was a free-kick for Rangdajied, which headed Frolicson Dkhar’s way. The goalkeeper couldn’t collect the ball cleanly, though and Wahlang put the ball into the net. However, the assistant referee saw something amiss. Whether it was for offside or Nongkhlaw’s boot colliding with Dkhar’s face in an attempt to get the ball, we don’t know.

There was a bit of hectic action in the last few minutes of the first half. First Syndai was denied by a diving save by Chettri and the resulting corner led to a golden chance but neither Ebormi Buam or Ronaldkydon Lyngdoh Nonglait could make good enough contact with the ball.

The penalty in the 56th minute was controversial, at least for Langsning. What happened was that Dkhar looked like he had collected a high ball in the box, but Rangdajied’s Andy Mawthoh collided with him, which sprung the ball loose. The referee let play continue and Nongkhlaw was then fouled by Brolington Warlarpih from behind in the box.

Nongkhlaw converted the spot kick and that spurred Langsning on to find another goal, but chances were few and far between for the reigning champions and they had to settle for a point.

On Saturday we’ll see a match between the bottom two teams – Malki and Sawmer at 3:45PM.

(TSR photo. Rangdajied United are in blue, Langsning in white)

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