Shillong Lajong FC ended their Hero I-League season with a 2-2 draw against East Bengal FC at the JN stadium in Shillong on Monday.
Lajong Academy products Aiban Dohling and Samuel Lalmuanpuia found the back of the net whereas it was Dudu who scored a brace for the visiting side.
Coach Alison made a single change in the line up as he brought in experienced Redeem Tlang to replace injured Hardycliff Nongbri. The Reds started the game a bit defensively as the hosts opted to soak up the early pressure from the visitors. Samuel Lalmuanpuia had a chance to open the scoring in the very early minutes, but he failed to keep his shot on target.
It was in the 20th minute when East Bengal forward Dudu managed to break the shackles and score the opening goal of the game from a cross from Chullova. Goalkeeper Nidhin Lal was then brought into action as he had to make a few stunning saves to keep the visitors lead to only one.
Lajong had their real chance of the game in the 35th minute when Redeem Tlang found himself open on goal but the midfielder failed to connect well enough to find the back of the net. A few minutes later, Samuel again tried to test the keeper from the distance but his shot went wide of the goal and the first half ended 0-1 in favour of the visitors.
The Reds started the second half in a completely different manner and dominated the game right from the referee’s whistle and it took just four minutes for the hosts to find the equaliser. Swedish forward Saihou Jagne was fouled in the left flank and Samuel delivered the curling freekick for Aiban to head it past the opponent’s keeper to score his first I-league goal and get the vital equaliser.
Lajong dictated the game play having the majority of the ball possession and were creating chances after chances but didn’t manage to find the final pass. In the 69th minute, captain Samuel Lalmuanpuia was fouled inside the box by the East Bengal defender and the referee awarded a penalty to the hosts. Samuel stepped up to take the penalty and beat the keeper with a fierce shot to give Lajong the lead.
In the following minutes, Lajong had a few chances from counter attacks but failed to pose any threat to the opponent’s goal. As the Reds were looking for the third goal it was the visiting side who managed to find the equaliser out of nowhere. Kromah found himself with some space and he found Dudu who headed in for his brace.
In the final few minutes of the game, Lajong forward Koffi had a chance from a counter-attack but failed to connect his final shot to win it in the dying moments. As the referee blew the final whistle, Lajong ended their final game of the season with a 2-2 draw.
Lajong goalkeeper Nidhin Lal was adjudged Hero of the Match for his brilliant performance under the bar. Shillong Lajong FC ended their season with 22 points from the 18 matches and is currently in the 6th position in the league table.
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