Shillong Lajong FC emerged victorious against Kalyani Bharat FC in the round 20 of the Hero I-League by a scoreline of 3-1 after a brilliant second half hat trick from lead striker Cornell Glen giving the home side their 2nd victory in 3 matches and the valuable three points in their plight for league safety.
The match began with no zeal and thrust from both sides as neither team managed to get possession of the ball. Lajong conceded a free kick in the fourth minute and Syed Rahim Nabi stepped up to take it. He curled a dangerous ball into the feet of Omar Jarrun who did not miss to fire the Pune side into the lead from close range in the 5th minute.
The set piece goal conceded so early in the match though seemed to fire up the home side who came out all guns blazing after the restart. The Reds created many chances after the first goal with attack after attack putting the Bharat FC defense on the back foot for much of the first half. The visiting side though almost scored their second against the run of play after former Lajong striker Subash Singh was released on his own down the left flank and as he went pass Lajong custodian Kunzang Bhutia but his finish hit the side netting instead.
The home side although dominating the first half could not find the equaliser before the break leaving Thangboi Singto and his men with much to do in the second half.
The match resumed after break with much of the momentum still with the home side as they were the ones pressing throughout the end stages of the first half. The attacking threats paid off in the 52nd minute when Glen was released on his own from a Zoding’s brilliant lobbed through ball over the defence as the Trinidad and Tobago striker passed it into the bottom corner leaving Arindam Bhattacharjee diving in vain. The equaliser scored in the 53rd minute only meant that The Reds were in the mood to get into the lead. The frequent attacking displays almost paid dividends when Glen did cut back for Uilliams Souza Silva in the 62nd minute but Uilliams skewed his shot over the bar.
The Lajong Faithful roared their team on as the second half progressed and they were rewarded with the lead in the 71st minute. Brilliant play between Zodingliana and Penn Orji down the left hand side left Bharat defenders in no man’s land as Penn squared it in for Glen who fires his shot past Bharat FC custodian Arindam even as the keeper got a slight touch.
The home side were resilient after grabbing the lead in the 72nd and went on to score the third in the 75th minute leading to a hat trick for Cornell Glen. Glen single handedly got Lajong into a comfortable position with his third goal of the match with a beautiful long range effort that caught Arindam by surprise and flew right into the left corner of the net.
Shillong Lajong went into the final minutes of the match still in the mood of scoring more goals. A swift counter attacking set up by the home side found Uilliams one on one with Arindam Bhattacharjee but the Brazilian who has been brilliant all evening fired his shot just wide off the post. The miss though was to no avail as the home side were cruising through the match.
The final whistle blew with the home crowd rejoicing and Thangboi Singto ecstatic with his team’s second half display to get the much deserved victory. The win lifts Shillong Lajong FC to 6th position in the I-League table with 20 points from 17 games while visitors, Bharat FC, even though not eligible for relegation are just a point above the relegation zone.
Shillong Lajong will host Sporting Club de Goa in their next match on the 20th May 2015 in Shillong.