KEB 0 – 0 SLFC
There was a slow start to the game even though both sides shared equal possession. It was evident that both teams did not start the game well as there were a lot of sloppy passes and touches by the players from both teams. As the game moved on, both teams managed to find some rhythm in attack and created few good chances. Lajong came close to scoring in the 17th minute with Minchol Son heading the ball wide after Tuboi squandered his shot from a Boithang Haokip freekick. The Reds kept putting pressure on their hosts as Boithang Haokip also sent a scorching shot in the 28th minute that was punched over the bar by an attentive Mondal. Lajong forward, Uilliams who was playing the lone striker in most part of the game was heavily marked by the East Bengal defence and hence failed to make an impact. Similarly, on the other end of the pitch, Lajongs defence stood firm in putting off the lethal combination of Moga, Chidi and Sueoka. East Bengal Coach Armando Colaco decided to replace Subodh Kumar in the 30th minute and brought in Cavin Lobo. Tuboi had a good chance to give Lajong the lead as he found a cross from Uilliams inside the box but his shot hit the chest of the East Bengal custodian and even though Tuboi managed to place the ball back to Redeem from the rebound, the latter’s shot on goal went high over the bar. The game looked lifeless towards the end of the first half with no team creating any clear cut chances. Both teams went into the break with no goals from each side.
The match resumed with the second half and with the intent to score immediately, the hosts made a good forward play in the 49th minute and created a great chance for Cavin Lobo who only had the keeper to beat to give the Red and Gold the lead but his shot went wide. The game reverted back to midfield play with an exciting and constant tussle between Lajong’s Taisuke Matsugae and his counterpart Ryuji Sueoka.
Armando Colaco was brave to bring in youngster Seminlen Doungel from Manipur in place of the experienced James Moga. Minutes after coming in, Doungel probably had the best chance in the match in the 81st minute after a through ball found him in ample space to place the ball behind the keeper but his shot went inches wide. Shillong Lajong coach Thangboi Singto also brought in strikers Subash Singh and Durga Boro to try and end Lajong’s winless away run of three games. However, as both teams cancelled each other out in many of the chances created during the match, the game thus ended with the scores all square at 0-0.
The draw indicates that both teams will stay at their positions in the I-League table. Shillong Lajong FC are on 5th position with 26 points from 19 games and East Bengal FC on 7th position with 24 points out of 16 games. The Reds will play their next game at home against Bengaluru FC on the 23rd March 2014.