Shillong Lajong FC and DSK Shivajians played out a 1-1 draw in the return fixture of the Hero I-League here in Shillong. Pierric Dica opened the scoring for the visitors and Boithang Haokip got the equaliser for the home side to secure a point for The Reds.
The home side begun in quite similar fashion as in their encounter in Pune with exquisite attacking play on display. The Reds almost went up in the 9th minute had it not been for DSK Shivajian’s custodian Prosenjit Ghosh to keep his side level. A nice one and one exchange between Rupert Nongrum and Penn Orji saw the latter squared off a pass to Uilliams whose left footed effort was brilliantly kept out by Prosenjit Ghosh. Just two minutes later Rupert again got a glorious opportunity when the ball fell kindly for him but the youngster again hurries his shot over.
The visiting side never looked like they were in the game having struggled to get off the blocks. The communication between the Shivajians looked clueless with no clear chances falling to the visitors. Pierric Dica came closest to scoring in the 34th minute but there were literally no worries as Lajong keeper Vishal Kaith left the ball to soar wide. The match continued on with Lajong holding much of the possession as well as the intent but neither side could get the much sought after lead as the scores remained level at half time.
The instruction in the dressing rooms from both the head coaches seemed to have sparked some life into the game as the second half began brightly. Derrick Perreira set out his team with two marksmen in Pierric Dica and Djidja Pierre providing the much needed tenacity and it reaped dividends. While Lajong were pressing hard to draw first blood Juan Quero was left on his own on the left flank and the technical Spaniard made no mistake in delivering a well shaped cross for Pierric Dica to cushion in the header. The home side were caught off guard against the run of play and were punished by the towering forward.
Shillong Lajong though knew they had to pick themselves up again and rally back into the match. The home support though less in number, were very much vociferous behind the team. The home side found a chance in the 72nd minute when Penn Orji was brought down just outside the box and the spot looked very much like Boithang Haokip territory as the Manipuri free kick specialist stepped up. Boithang then curled one of his trademark free kicks right towards the top corner leaving DSK Shivajians keeper Prosenjit Ghosh rooted to his spot. There was a quarter of the half left for the home side to grab the lead and uncountable chances fell to the home side. Penn Orji came closest to score when a lobbed pass fell to him inside the box only for his thunderous strike to go way above the bar.
The visiting side looked happy to hold on to the draw as both teams could not find a way back into the lead. The match ended with the sides all square and a repeat of their previous result when the two sides met in Pune. Thangboi Singto would have been disappointed with the result but the performance put out by his team was more than what the coach could ask for.
Shillong Lajong FC will play their next home match against Bengaluru FC on Wednesday at the JN Stadium at 7pm.