Shillong, Jun 6: The last of the 66 group stage matches of the Meghalaya State League 2023 took place today, with defending champions Shillong Lajong winning against Riangdo 2-0 at the MDSA Ground in Mawkyrwat.

The phenomenal action has seen just shy of 300 goals scored (297 to be exact) across the four venues since the mega statewide tournament, which brings together the best teams from all the affiliated district associations, began on 12th May, plus a whole host of fantastic saves, terrific comebacks and more to delight the fans.

Shano Tariang (55′) and substitute Sangti Janai Shianglong (69′), who came on at the start of the second half, scored today for Lajong in the Group C fixture. The 2019 champions had already secured their semifinal berth thanks to their strong previous results but still played today’s game with confidence and determination.

Now all eyes will turn to the semifinal stage, which will involve Lajong and three other clubs – Mawlai from Group A, 2019 runners-up Rangdajied United from Group B and Khliehmawlieh from Group D.

The draw for the semifinal fixtures was held in Shillong yesterday with four special guests in the form of star Meghalaya footballers Redeem Tlang, Aiban Dohling and Halen Nongtdu as well as FIFA Assistant Referee Ri-iohlang Dhar. It was overseen by MSL Tournament Director Wanshanbor Kharkrang in the presence of representatives of all four teams.

The semis will be conducted on a home-and-away basis, starting on 10th June, with the second leg on 13th June. The grand finale will be held at the SSA Stadium at First Ground, Polo, in Shillong on 17th June. Further details on the venues and kick-off times will be shared in due course.

Khliehmawlieh were drawn with Mawlai, leaving Rangdajied to face Lajong in the other semifinal.

Khliehmawlieh were part of MSL 2019 but were unable to progress to the knockouts, while Mawlai are the only club in the last-four to make their debut appearance in the MSL this year.

Lajong and Rangdajied faced off in the MSL 2019 final in Khliehriat in what was an extremely close contest until the penalty shootout, which Lajong won 3-0. This year’s semifinal will thus be a repetition of that enthralling title match from four years ago but this time we will get to see two of the biggest clubs in the state go head to head twice over two legs.

(Meghalaya Football Association photo. Shillong Lajong in red, Riangdo in white/blue)

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