Shillong, Jan 24: Shillong Lajong have qualified for the Elite League (formerly U-18 Youth League) final round after topping Group B in the playoffs, thanks to a 4-0 victory over Raman Vijayan Soccer School in Goa today.
The goals were scored by Donboklang Lyngdoh (20′), Freestar Kharbangar (62′), Muhammed Safique Ahmed (70′) and Baiaikara Swer (83′).
After four games Lajong have 8 points, tied with Aizawl FC, but with a better goal difference. The two North East sides both progress to the final round. In Group A MSP Football Academy and Minerva Punjab were the top two sides. Real Kashmir also qualified for the final round from Group A as the best third-placed team; they finished with seven points to Kerala Blasters’ six in Group B.
SLFC began their playoffs campaign with a 1-1 result against Aizawl on 16th January. Parvaj Bhuiya had scored a late equaliser for the Reds.
Two days later Lajong defeated Jamshedpur FC 2-0 with goals by Kharbangar and Lyngdoh. The defending champions then played out a goalless draw against last year’s runners-up Kerala Blasters on 22nd January.
Lajong had to go through the playoffs after finishing second in the Shillong-Guwahati Zone behind Sports Authority of India, Guwahati, who took first spot and a direct place in the final round.
(Photo contributed by Shillong Lajong FC)