Shillong, Jun 16: The highly-anticipated clash between defending champions Shillong Lajong FC and Langsning FC did not disappoint as the latter secured a 1-0 victory in a closely-contested second fixture of the OC Blue Shillong Premier League 2021-22 at Third Ground, Polo, here today.
In a match that saw both sides dominate for long stretches, it was Shano Tariang’s 70th minute goal that proved decisive, with Langsning taking all three points.
The first half belonged to four-time champions Lajong despite them fielding a new-look team under the experienced eye of coach Bobby Lyngdoh Nongbet.
Amon Lepcha rattled the crossbar with a powerful strike in the 18th minute following a neat little through ball and almost all the action of the opening half was in Langsning’s side of the pitch.
However, in contrast to their 2019 campaign, which saw them leak 21 goals, Langsning have a stronger defensive line this time around, led by the experienced Ambilstar Sun and Dibinroy Nongspung.
Lajong still looked more likely to find the breakthrough but their chances went begging, especially that of Hamedamanbha Wahlang, who tapped what should have been a relatively easy chance wide in the 38th minute.
Crossing over, the second half began Langsning’s way. Kitboklang Pale came on as a second half substitute and fitted in nicely with Figo Syndai, Roikhihbha Nongtdu and Kynsaibor Lhuid up front.
SLFC goalkeeper Rajat Paul Lyngdoh was peppered with shots but did not find them too challenging but there was little he could do in preventing the goal, which came about after a free-kick hit the Lajong wall but squeezed through for Tariang to score off the rebound unmarked.
A minute later and Langsning almost had another but this time Tariang’s sure-footed strike was punched away by a diving Lyngdoh.
From then on, Lajong lifted their game and there were a few nervy moments for Langsning but their defence held on until the final whistle for a solid start to their campaign. Incidentally, this is the first time that Langsning have beaten Lajong in the OC Blue SPL since the final of the 2018 edition (back when the SPL still had a final at the end of the season), with 2019 seeing Lajong win both encounters.
Tomorrow, Malki will be up against Ryntih at 4PM. Malki are making their return to the OC Blue SPL for the first time since 2018 with a very young batch of boys and they will aim to give as much of a challenge as possible to Ryntih, who finished third in their debut season back in 2019.
Malki vs Ryntih, 4PM