Shillong, Dec 11: Shillong Lajong suffered their worst I-League defeat in nearly six years with Real Kashmir beating the Meghalaya club 6-1 in their first ever meeting in Srinagar today.
Lajong haven’t lost this badly since 4th January 2013 when they took a 6-0 beating at Churchill Brothers. This was also the highest margin of victory (or defeat) that any side has experienced in this season thus far. Kashmir also became the second promoted club in I-League history to win by a five-goal margin in their first season (United Sikkim had done it first in 2012-13 by trouncing Air India 5-0).
Defence has looked like a constant weakness for SLFC this season and today the situation at the back went completely pear-shaped, with the newly-promoted side making merry in front of their adoring fans in Kashmir.
Abednego Tetteh (25′, 83′) book-ended proceedings with a brace, with Mason Robertson (37′), Nagen Tamang (42′), Gnohere Krizo (50′), and Surchandra Singh (74′) scoring in between. Samuel Lyngdoh Kynshi scored in the 28th minute after Tetteh’s first, but Lajong’s game went downhill after that in spectacularly bad fashion.
Alison Kharsyntiew made two changes going into the match as Hardycliff Nongbri was handed his first start of the season, while Sheen Sohktung also came in for Nabin Rabha and Lalawmpuia Hnamte. David Robertson named the same Real Kashmir starting lineup that won 1-0 against Aizawl.
The highly anticipated I-League debut of Kitboklang Pale was made (he came on at the start of the second half in place of Samuel Lalmuanpuia) and he looked good in parts and worked well with his new team mates, but he couldn’t set the game alight.
Keeping scorers at bay, though, was a constant problem, with Kashmir producing three goals on either side of half time. Lajong have now conceded 22 goals in eight games (that’s an average of almost 3 per game), which is more than Churchill Brothers, NEROCA, Minerva Punjab and Real Kashmir combined (21).
Krizo ran rings around the Lajong defence to open up a scoring opportunity for Tetteh, but the visitors were gifted a lucky equaliser when a bad clearance cannoned into Kynshi and went over the line.
Robertson put the Snow Leopards back into the lead soon after with a header off a corner kick and Tamang made it 3-1 before half time.
An Aiban Dohling foul in the box then gave Kashmir a penalty early in the second half, which was converted by Krizo. Surchandra, followed by Tetteh, then made sure that the Reds left Srinagar with less than fond memories, at least from the football field.
Lajong will remain on the road and will next face Mohun Bagan on 23rd December. They are still chasing their first point from away matches this season, having lost all the four that they’ve played so far.
(Photo contributed by Shillong Lajong FC)