Shillong, Jun 28: A stoppage time screamer by Damanbha Chyne (pictured right) earned Nangkiew Irat SC a point in a 1-1 draw against Shillong Lajong FC in the 10th match of the OC Blue Shillong Premier League 2021-22 at Third Ground, Polo, here today.

Sangti Janai Shianglong (in yellow) scored in the 14th minute for Lajong’s first goal of the season. After trailing for most of the match, Nangkiew found the equaliser after Chyne (90’+3) delivered the best of goals by finding the top corner of the net from long-range.

Before kick-off neither side had won a match and this did not change today.

After an inspiring 2-2 draw against Langsning FC in their previous outing, Nangkiew Irat would have been looking to go one better and grab full points. Coach Rogesterwell Basaiawmoit kept faith with the same line-up, only switching out goalkeeper Guidle Syiemlieh for Bobbyson Nongtdu.

Lajong, meanwhile, had to win as they lost to Langsning in the opener and are behind 1-0 in the interrupted match against Mawlai SC. The remaining half an hour or so of that game will be played on Friday and SLFC needed to win today to instil some confidence and build momentum in their young squad.

They started out promisingly, with Shianglong going over the bar in the fifth minute. Less than 10 after that, Wadajied K Ryngkhlem stole the ball away from a Nangkiew Irat defender and toed it towards Shianglong who pulled off a terrific shot after a couple of touches that beat a diving Nongtdu.

A few minutes later and Lajong had a double chance but the first shot was blocked and the second attempt was wayward.

The match then settled in and neither side really came close, except for Chyne’s attempt in the 26th minute that was marginally wide.

Nangkiew Irat replaced Lambor Nongsiej with Damehun Syih at the start of the second half, and SLFC coach Bobby L Nongbet made a double substitution of his own before an hour’s play. It nevertheless remained a rather quiet second half, that is until about 20 minutes to go.

Nangkiew Irat lifted their game from then on, with Shaibor Nongrum and Chyne producing a couple of strong left-footed attempts that were denied. The team’s passing improved several-fold and they piled pressure on the opposition defence.

Nongrum then produced arguably the most exciting shot of the season, with a full aerial leap several feet in the air, that rattled the crossbar in the 73rd minute.

Lajong had a chance of their own five minutes later, but it was their only real one of the second half, and Aman Ahlawat’s header off a corner kick missed the target.

The fourth official signalled three minutes of second half stoppage time and Lajong had almost seen it out. A goal kick for Nangkiew Irat was taken at the start of the third minute and they pushed forwards with everything at their disposal. Lajong desperately tried to keep the ball away and, in the back-and-forth, one of their players hacked at the ball and it fell straight to Chyne, who took just one touch before unleashing his magnificent strike from 25 yards out.

The final whistle blew soon after to the elation of the Nangkiew Irat players but it was a crushing blow for SLFC, though they at least lift themselves off the bottom of the table with their first point. They are now in seventh place, ahead of Mawkhar SC on goal difference (-1 compared to -2). Nangkiew Irat stay in sixth position with 2 points now.

The next match of the OC Blue SPL 2021-22 will take place on Thursday between Mawkhar and Ryntih SC.

Thursday’s fixture:
Mawkhar vs Ryntih, 4PM

(TSR photo)

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