Shillong Lajong FC held Bengaluru FC to a 1-1 draw at the J.N.Stadium, Shillong as they earned a point that would help them stay in the I-League as the visitors stretch their unbeaten streak in the league to 11 matches.
The match began with neither side holding meaningful possession not able to find any spaces in between the two well organized defences. The teams played on right into the half hour working hard to create any real threat upfront. The champions pushed hard against the Lajong defence who were on their toes as Vineeth was released by a long ball over the defence as his cross though was headed by Sean Rooney only for Shillong Lajong goalkeeper Kunzang Bhutia to smartly tip over the bar.
The game went on a slow space during the first half but the visiting team found the breakthrough on first half stoppage time. After they were fouled on the right side of the pitch, Eugeneson Lyngdoh put in a great ball from the free kick for Sean Rooney to head inside the far post leaving Kunzang Bhutia with no chance.
The goal scored in the 45th minute turned out to be the last chance of the half as The Reds went into the dressing having felt hard done by Bengaluru’s set piece goal.
Lajong began the second half with much urgency as Uilliams and Len put to their paces in chasing down the deficit and find the equaliser for the home side. The visitors conceded a corner in the 61st that proved costly. As the ball from the corner came in to the far post John Johnson makes a rare mistake and handled the ball inside the penalty box as the referee blew his whistle and awarded the home side the penalty. In the 65th minute, Uilliams Silva stepped up to take the penalty and buried it into the side netting leaving Lalchuanmawia guessing the wrong way.
The goal provided the much needed thrust that the home side needed and fired them up for the second goal. Uilliams almost put his side up into the 66th minute as he found himself towards the left flank advancing past the Bengaluru defence only to fire his shot just wide of Lalchuanmawia and off the post too. Just after a minute, the Reds left the Bengaluru defence in tatters once again with a brilliant pass from Penn Orji to release Len on the right flank but as he went one on one with the goalkeeper. Len Doungel fired his shot too early and went safely into the keeper’s hands.
Bengaluru found one last chance against the run of play when Eugene Lyngdoh’s free kick almost broke the hearts of his former club when it went off the bar in the closing stages of the game. Shillong Lajong after having dominated proceedings towards the closing minutes of the match were able to frustrate the visitors and grind out a drawn result.
This draw moves Shillong Lajong up to Sixth position having played sixteen games and earning sixteen points. The Bengaluru outfit however have dropped two precious points in their title charge as they now have played a game extra to Mohun Bagan who sit on level points and an equal goal difference, tied on first and second place.
The Reds will play their next home game on the 17th of May against Kalyani Bharat FC.