Shillong, Nov 11: There are just three matches remaining in the Shillong Premier League 2019 and only two teams are still in contention for the title.
Shillong Lajong are in pole position on 24 points after 11 games and require just a draw on Tuesday against third-placed Ryntih to be confirmed as champions. A draw is exactly what happened in the first leg, with the match between these two teams finishing 2-2.
Ryntih can’t win the title in their first season in the SPL, but could finish as high as second if they beat Lajong and if Rangdajied United don’t win against Langsning in the season-ending fixture on Thursday. It isn’t clear to us as to how many teams from the SPL will be included in the lucrative Meghalaya State League, so Ryntih will want to finish as high as they can if not more than two teams go through.
Rangdajied have been unbeaten throughout the season, but those six draws of theirs have really dented their title hopes. If they had managed to convert a couple of those into victories they would have had the trophy already wrapped up by now.
As it stands, Rangdajied need Ryntih to beat Lajong and they then need to win against Langsning. That would then put Rangdajied and Lajong on 24 points each. Head-to-head doesn’t separate the two sides as their two meetings both ended in draws, so we would then have to look at goal difference. Lajong have a marginally better goal difference of +20 compared to Rangdajied’s +18, but if SLFC lose to Ryntih their goal difference will drop and Rangdajied will know by exactly how many goals they will need to beat Langsning by to claim the trophy.
If Lajong lose and Rangdajied win it’s also possible for them to finish with the same goal difference and we would then have to look at goals scored where Lajong again lead by 26 to 25.
So, all eyes should be on the Lajong-Ryntih fixture. Lajong haven’t conceded a goal in their last four matches but Ryntih could be the ones to end that streak. After only an average first leg, where they won just two games against bottom sides Nongrim Hills and Laban, Ryntih have improved markedly and are unbeaten in their last six matches now and have scored goals in five of those outings.
Finally, there is also the battle to avoid relegation. Nongrim have played out all of their 12 matches and are on 11 points. Nangkiew Irat, though, still have a game to go against Laban on Wednesday and a win for them would move them out of the drop zone by putting them on 12 points.
Fixtures for 12th to 14th Nov (kick-off at 2:30PM):
Tuesday – Shillong Lajong vs Ryntih
Wednesday – Laban vs Nangkiew Irat
Thursday – Rangdajied United vs Langsning
(TSR file photo)