Shillong, Sep 3: Shillong Lajong came from two goals to one down to beat Rangdajied United 4-2 in the Shillong Premier League at the JN Stadium here today.
Lajong thus become the first team all season to win after going behind. This was also Rangdajied first defeat and it came in their last game of the first leg. They still remain at the top of the standings with 13 points, but could be overtaken tomorrow by Langsning, who have 11. Lajong move to provisional second with 12.
Andy Mawthoh put Rangdajied into the lead in only the fifth minute with a tap-in off a cross by Atlanson Kharmaw for what was one of the fastest goals of SPL 2018.
Despite going behind Lajong looked stronger in the first 30 minutes of the game, but then were guilty of some bad passing and it was RUFC who went into the half time break with the narrow lead.
Then, early in the second half SLFC’s Sheen Sohktung was fouled by Rangdajied captain Ambilstar Sun in the box and it was Sohktung who converted the penalty in the 52nd minute to level proceedings.
That spurred RUFC forward again and in the 61st minute Aiban Dohling tried to head away a Rangdajied cross, but the ball only went as far as Samson Nongrum, who powered the ball into the back of the net to restore Rangdajied’s lead.
Despite leading by a solitary goal, it looked like Rangdajied wanted to go safe, trying to run the clock down as much as they could, but then the match went completely pear-shaped for them.
Firstly, Lajong again equalised in the 71st minute when Sohktung, on the edge of the box and running forward, tapped the ball towards his skipper on the right and Samuel Lalmuanpuia took a running shot past Rangdajied goalkeeper Germy Passah.
Five minutes later Lalmuanpuia turned provider when Lajong earned a corner. He kicked it in nicely for Novin Gurung to slam a volley over the line to put SLFC into the lead for the first time.
Rangdajied heads sank with this goal, but they tried to get back into the contest, but things went from bad to worse in the 84th minute when Mahesh Naorem struck a powerful left-footer that Passah blocked with two hands. However, the ball went straight up in the air and, besides Passah, Lalmuanpuia was the only one alive to the possibility. He raced it, beat the keeper to the ball and scored his third goal of the tournament.
Lajong certainly didn’t play their best football today, but they showed real grit and determination to conquer the elements (it was raining throughout the game) and their opponents after going behind.
Langsning, meanwhile, won’t be unhappy with dropping into third place as tomorrow they’ll take on Meghalaya Police at 3:45PM. A win will move them to first place after trailing behind Rangdajied for the last couple of weeks.
(TSR photo. Shillong Lajong are in red, Rangdajied United in white)