Shillong, Jul 26: Nangkiew Irat SC fought back brilliantly from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Ryntih SC in the 27th match of the OC Blue Shillong Premier League 2021-22 at Third Ground, Polo, here today.
There was a double-quick brace by Wilbert Marbaniang (21’, 23’) for Ryntih in the first half but Nangkiew Irat responded in the second through Chanmitre Thma (56’) and Khangmiki Pale (71’).
Before today, Ryntih were leading Nangkiew by 2 points in the standings – 10 to 8 – in fourth and fifth places respectively.
Lax defending led to Ryntih’s goal with big holes opening up in the Nangkiew Irat back line to allow Marbaniang his brace. Now with four goals this season, he is the joint top scorer of the OC Blue SPL 2021-22 with Rangdajied United FC’s Donboklang Lyngdoh.
Dawanplielad Myrchiang was the provider of the first goal, with the Ryntih player steaming up the right flank before delivering a perfect cross to the far post where Marbaniang tapped in.
Just two minutes later, it was the turn of Sheen Sohktung to assist in similar circumstances on the right flank. This time a Nangkiew defender tried to clear the cross but the ball popped up in the air and Marbaniang converted the opportunity.
Leading 2-0 only a quarter of the way through the match would have given Ryntih plenty of confidence and they sought to extend their lead further into the early part of the second half.
But that is when they began to suffer from a crisis of confidence, with Nangkiew Irat turning the screws in their desperate attempt to get back into the game.
From around the 50th minute they began peppering the Ryntih goal with shots but some desperate defending and great goalkeeping from Eric Nongkhlaw (playing his first game in over a month) managed to keep Nangkiew Irat at bay.
However, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before Ryntih would concede and Thma’s goal in the 56th minute came via a rebound after his team mate Banshan Nongdhar’s attempt was first blocked by Nongkhlaw.
The Ryntih keeper saved another two attempts but could not stop Pale in the 71st. Until that point, Pale appeared reluctant to take a shot when he had prior opportunities but this time he went for it and absolutely nailed the ball straight into the top corner of the net from just outside the box.
With the game now level, Ryntih finally started looking more hungry up front and came close on occasion, with Dawanchwa Challam’s powerful right-footer being punched away by Nangkiew goalie Bobbyson Nongtdu in the 81st. Nangkiew Irat still had the momentum, however, and only a couple of saves by Nongkhlaw off attempts by Apborlang Kurbah and Bris Taro saved Ryntih’s blushes.
Ryntih have, at least, caught up with both Langsning FC and Rangdajied on 11 points. However, Langsning stay in second according to head-to-head, with Rangdajied third and Ryntih fourth.
Tomorrow, in the last match of the first leg, Langsning will take on bottom side Mawkhar SC (2 points).
Langsning vs Mawkhar, 4PM