Shillong, Apr 4: Shillong Lajong FC defeated East Bengal reserves 1-0 in their first match in Group B of the Second Division League in Kolkata today.
Lajong midfielder Pursunep scored the only goal of the game in the 50th minute. His team mate Sambor Kharsahnoh was named Player of the Match.
Coach Bobby Lyngdoh Nongbet made use of four of the five substitutions available to him. He brought on Babysunday Marngar for Chanmitre Thma in the first half and then made three more after the goal was scored – Everbrightson Mylliempdah for Amon Lepcha, Wadajied Kynsai Ryngkhlem for Hardy Cliff Nongbri and Iohborlang Lyngdoh Lyngkhoi for goal scorer Pursunep.
The Reds will next play Diamond Rock in Balaghat, Madhya Pradesh, on 9th April. Diamond Rock went down 2-0 to United SC in Kolkata today.
Group B is the last of the four groups to get going in the Second Division League, the division below the I-League. It only has four clubs, while the other three groups have five each.
The winners of each group plus the best second-placed team will qualify for the final round.
SLFC have twice gained promotion to the I-League through the Second Division; they qualified for the 2009-10 I-League season (where they became the first club from the North East to ever take part) but were relegated. However, they then won the next edition of the Second Division and reentered the I-League in 2011-12.
This year is the first time that Lajong are taking part in the Second Division League since they were relegated from the I-League for a second time, in 2018-19.
Lajong’s squad today: Bishal Lama (GK), Henry Ford Nongneng, Sambor Kharsahnoh, Saveme Tariang, Pursunep (sub Iohborlang Lyngdoh Lyngkhoi 86′), Hardy Cliff Nongbri (sub Wadajied Kynsai Ryngkhlem 69′), Sangti Janai Shianglong, Hamedamanbha Wahlang, Chanmitre Thma (sub Babysunday Marngar 26′), Atlanson Kharmaw, Amon Lepcha (sub Everbrightson Mylliempdah 69′)
(Shillong Lajong FC photo)