Shillong, Nov 9: Shillong Lajong FC were held to a tame 1-1 draw by struggling NEROCA as the I-League returned to the Meghalaya capital after a gap of four years.
Played at First Ground, Polo, bubbling fans eager to see a club of their own in the national league were delighted when Lajong took the lead in the 34th minute but were left rather disappointed after the visitors netted the equaliser in the 79th through Fabian Reid.
Although the official I-League website awarded the SLFC goal to Renan Paulino De Souza, Lajong attributed it to the other Brazilian in the team, Daniel Gonçalves.
Whoever it was scored off a corner as Lajong dominated the first half.
If this had been a different year, the hosts probably would’ve welcome a point – in four I-League meetings they’ve lost three times to NEROCA. However, the Manipur club have found it tough going at the beginning of this season for a number of reasons and had lost their previous two outings 4-0 and 4-1, so a point on the road was to be welcomed with open arms.
Lajong, on the other hand, had drawn 1-1 with Mohammedan Sporting in Naihati last week.
After being on the back foot in the first half, NEROCA bounced back in the second, equalising through Jamaican striker Reid in the 79th minute.
As a result, both Shillong Lajong and NEROCA climbed a couple of places in the table. Bobby Nongbet’s Lajong are now 9th with two points from as many games, while NEROCA lifted themselves off the foot of the table to move to 11th.
Lajong will next welcome Sreenidi Deccan on 14th November.
(Photo: I-League Media)