Shillong, Aug 22: Mawlai SC held off Shillong Lajong FC at the end of a heated match for a 1-0 win in the OC Blue Shillong Premier League 2021-22 at Third Ground, Polo, here today.
Donlad Diengdoh scored the only goal of the season’s 39th fixture in the 25th minute.
Mawlai finished with 10 men after captain Brolington Warlarpih received a direct red card for a reckless tackle on Lajong’s Glennys Lynrah and there could still be repercussions for players from both sides after some unnecessary physical contact following the final whistle.
Coming into today’s game, leaders Mawlai had 23 points from nine games, while defending champions Lajong were fifth with 11 points. Mawlai had defeated Lajong by the same scoreline in the first leg in a match that was spread over two days because of bad weather.
However, SLFC are a different side now than when the season began. Though the players are the same, the young squad have grown in confidence and shown improved ability of late; prior to today SLFC were on a run of three games unbeaten.
Mawlai, however, were strong favourites and were looking for another haul of 3 points to tighten their grip on the title.
The table toppers capitalised on a mistake from Lajong skipper Aman Ahlawat, who gave the ball away to Samuel Lyngdoh Kynshi, to score. Kynshi passed the ball on to Diengdoh, who almost slipped but gathered himself before pulling off a shot that clipped a defender, the goalkeeper and the upright before crossing the line. This was the Mawlai No. 10’s fourth goal in as many games and his sixth in seven outings.
Other highlights of the first half saw Kynshi almost make it 2-0 in the 36th minute. He had earlier missed a couple of chances but was only slightly off target with this attempt but his strong shot did not dip enough, instead gliding over the crossbar.
In the 42nd minute Gladdy Kharbuli played a through ball for Lajong team mate Everbrightson Mylliempdah but the latter hesitated just a touch and was then blocked by Mawlai custodian Neithovilie Chalieu.
A short, sharp shower in the second half did not dampen either side’s spirits, though Kynshi will regret not taking advantage of a ball that popped up for him in the opposition box; he sent this one far over the bar and out of the ground.
Later on, Chalieu was called on again to make a sharp save, this time against a charging Lynrah, who was then fouled by Warlarpih in the 89th minute. With four minutes added on, Lajong did not have much time to make use of their man advantage, though they gave it their best shot.
Kharbuli took a short free-kick in the second minute of stoppage time but Sangti Janai Shianglong’s attempt glided over the bar. Two minutes later Kharbuli took a firm shot but it was kept out by the outstretch booth of Mawlai’s Donborlang Nongkynrih.
Much was at stake in this match and it was understandable that the players’ emotions were running high but a lack of discipline showed when Wanboklang Lyngkhoi bumped into Kharbuli, seemingly on purpose, from behind at the final whistle. The Lajong player then lashed out in retaliation and their team mates and officials had to hurriedly calm the situation down.
Tomorrow, Nangkiew Irat SC will play Langsning FC in the last match of the 10th round. The reverse fixture on 22nd June saw Nangkiew hold Langsning 2-2.
Nangkiew Irat vs Langsning, 4PM