Shillong, Jun 15: Mawlai blanked Nangkiew Irat 2-0 in the opening match of the OC Blue Shillong Premier League 2021-22 at Third Ground, Polo, here today.
Manbha Iawphniaw (52′) and Damonlang Pathaw (58′) scored for Mawlai in the second half.
Two years of the Covid-19 pandemic meant that there has been a real longing for the return of the OC Blue SPL and that could be seen with the great turnout of fans who thronged the temporary stands put up at the ground, with Mawlai having an advantage in terms of turnout.
After a tense first half when both sides had their opportunities to score, Mawlai took control of the contest early in the second 45 minutes.
They started with a shot off the mark by Nikelson Bina but in the 52nd minute Iawphniaw went to ground outside the box and still managed to pull off a terrific strike to go past Nangkiew Irat substitute goalkeeper Bobbyson Nongtdu, who replaced Guidle Syiemlieh at the start of the second half.
A few minutes later an unmarked Pathaw then headed in a cross to make it 2-0 for Mawlai.
The game petered out a little after that until right at the very end when Pynbha Suting and Samuel Lyngdoh Kynshi both fired in strong attempts but were blocked.
Although the match ended without Nangkiew Irat being able to draw blood, they looked dangerous in the first half, with the lanky Bris Taro denied before half an hour after Mawlai gave the ball away too cheaply.
Their best opportunity came in the 35th minute with a free-kick a few yards outside the box but Pynche Tyngkan’s strike was easily gathered by Mawlai goalie Neithovilie Chalieu.
Tomorrow will see defending champions Shillong Lajong up against Langsning at 4PM. All of the past six SPL titles have been won between these two teams, with reigning champs Lajong picking up four trophies and Langsning two.
Shillong Lajong vs Langsning, 4PM