Shillong, Oct 20: Post-match violence targetted at the referee ruined the end to what was a hard-fought battle on the pitch between Rangdajied United and Malki in the Shillong Premier League Eliminator match at the JN Stadium here today, with RUFC winning 2-1 in extra time.

After a goalless first half in which Malki really showed some fight, Rangdajied went ahead in the 65th minute after Chanmetre Thma scored off a Samson Nongrum cross.

But Malki weren’t done yet, though, as Joseph Seun headed in a free-kick in the 78th minute to restore parity. However, Seun, who had already received a booking, was soon red-carded for a second offence and Malki then had to hold off a more numerous Rangdajied for the remaining minutes of normal time.

The 90 minutes ended with both sides level on 1-1 and we moved into extra time where, in the 111th minute, Thma scored again.

The goal came about after Atlanson Kharmaw sent in a long ball in front of Thma and Malki’s Dennelson Pyngrope and Rikmenlang Marwein tried to shield the ball allowing their goalkeeper Guidle Syiemlieh to get to it, but the latter swung his boot at the ball and missed, giving Thma a chance to score in front of an open net. It was a sad way for Malki to concede after Syiemlieh made so many good saves prior to that to deny RUFC.

Arguing then followed between Syiemlieh, Ousseynou Kamara and Marlangki Suting, which summed up a season they would like to very much forget in a hurry.

If that wasn’t enough to annoy the fans, some were aggrieved by some refereeing decisions made throughout the game and bottles rained onto the pitch towards the closing stages as Rangdajied held on for victory.

As soon as the referee blew the final whistle all hell broke loose.

Angry fans continued their pelting and some managed to get onto the track that runs around the pitch. The referee, unfortunately, was the victim of a couple of blows before he was rescued by Malki players and officials.

Heated words were exchanged between some fans and football administrators and it took a long time before things were settled.

There were no police on hand during the match to maintain order.

The SPL has been plagued by all manner of negative incidents throughout the season but this was the very nadir of 2018. The Shillong Sports Association has to seriously examine all aspects of the way it conducts its tournaments, TSR feels. This is not the first time a referee has been assaulted this season – it’s reportedly occurred on a couple of occasions in the lower divisions, though TSR wasn’t on hand to verify this.

It was almost easy to forget amidst the chaos, but Rangdajied are through to the 2nd Qualifier on 24th October, where they will face Shillong Lajong for a place in the final.

(Photo contributed by Malki SC. Rangdajied United are in blue, Malki in black)

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