Shillong, Nov 18: Ryntih took a solid step towards qualifying for the Meghalaya State League 2019 after holding hosts Niaw Wasa to a 3-3 draw at the Kiang Nangbah Stadium in Jowai today in the first leg of the playoff.
Niaw Wasa, who won the inaugural edition of the MSL, pulled out a three-goal lead in under half an hour with strikes from Hikaidame Bareh (5′, 27′) and Pynishai Lathong (16′), but Ryntih replied with two goals in the remaining minutes of the first half through Kynsaibor Lhuid (32′) and Hardycliff Nongbri (41′).
Niaw Wasa tried to hold on to their reduced lead in the second half, but Ryntih came away with a point after Bickyson Kharkongor scored in the 83rd minute.
The winners of the local leagues of affiliated units automatically qualify for the MSL 2019. In addition, the runners-up of the Shillong Sports Association’s Shillong Premier League are also awarded a place.
Being two of the biggest leagues in the state, the third-placed team from the Shillong Sports Association and runners-up from the West Jaintia District Sports Association (Ryntih and Niaw Wasa respectively) will compete for the wildcard spot.
Today saw the first leg of this in an exciting and well-attended clash in Jowai. Ryntih, who have the advantage of securing three away goals, will host the return leg on 22nd November at the JN Stadium, Shillong, at 1PM.
(Photo of Ryntih’s starting XI contributed by the Meghalaya Football Association)