In what was an absorbing and heated encounter at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium ,Kochi-which saw as many as 3 yellow cards being flashed by the referee,Chirag Utd defeated Shillong Lajong by 3 goals to 2.The match was a see-saw affair,and had the crowd anticipating with every ball play by both teams.
Sukhwinder Singh of Chirag Utd was shown the yellow card as early as the 33rd minute,when he brought down Subhash Singh.After that,both side had ample opportunities to go in front,but it was Chirag Utd who drew first blood in added time of the 1st half, through a Ganesh corner,which found Vineeth,who easily slotted the ball past the Lajong custodian Ralte.
The other side of the lemon break saw Shillong Lajong pressing hard for an equaliser,and they were rewarded when Skipper John Meyongar scored from yet another set piece,courtesy a Eugeneson Lyngdoh corner,in the 59th minute.
But Shillong Lajong’s joy were short lived,when Chirag immediately replied back with a cooly taken lob by David Sunday,past Ralte,in the very next minute of the match. Lajong quickly substituted midfielder Lalnunmawia for Rennedy Singh,in searching for the equaliser.
Chirag then doubled their lead in the 75 minute ,when Sunday very cleverly faked a shot,and gingerly crossed the ball to a waiting Vineeth,who made no mistake in tapping the ball in,for his 2nd of the match and Chirag’s third.
That would have put the game to bed,but Shillong Lajong pressed on to find the two goals,that would have brought them back in the game..Coach Reddy brought on his final two changes of the match,with Hoakip replacing Eugeneson Lyngdoh ,and Australian Matthew Mayora coming on for Indian striker Sushil Kumar Singh.And the changes effected an immediate impact on the game,with Boithang Hoakip scoring from just outside the box,in the 84th minute.
Shillong Lajong’s last chance to save the game came in the 89th minute when a powerful Tuboi effort was tipped away from the goal by the Chirag keeper, Sharath.That signalled the end for Lajong,who narrowly missed out on taking a point from the match.