Match Report: Lajong vs Mohun Bagan
Shillong Lajong FC just managed to pull off a dramatic draw here in Shillong at the J.N.Stadium, Shillong as Uilliams Souza Silva headed in what would be the last throw of the dice for sure. Mohun Bagan had opened the scoring through Jeje Lalpekhlua in the 18th minute but Uilliams pulled one back through a free kick right before the break in the 40th minute. Katsumi Yusa then got the lead back for the visitors in the 77th minute but it was never meant to be The Mariner’s day as Uilliams managed to squeeze a header in the 95th minute to salvage a draw here in Shillong.
The match begun brightly from both sets of players who were on it from the get go. There were no real clear cut chances though in the first few minutes of the match until a slight misjudgement from Kinshuk Debnath. The Mohun Bagan defender slipped and Uilliams was open clear on goal but Kinshuk got back in time to clear the ball off the line. That was the closest Lajong came to scoring in the first fifteen minutes of the match as the match settled back on its possession football strategy from both sides.
The chances however fell to The Mariners who just had an edge in possession and a cross from the right flank found Glen inside the box, the striker scuffed his shot which fell to his strike partner Jeje Lalpekhlua. The Indian attacker though did not miss his chance to bring up the lead for the visitors from roughly 8 yards out inside the box. The goal came out of a good bit of possession however this turned on the gas for the home team who were really now eager to get back into the match. The visitors were happy to sit back and carry their lead into the break but a lapse in defence saw Pritam Kotal bring down a Lajong striker just outside the box. The free kick which was to be taken was in Uilliams territory and the Brazilian striker stepped up to the task. The striker’s peach of a left foot curled the free kick into the bottom corner to Mohun Bagan’s keeper Debjit Majumder’s right and sent the crowd into frenzy in the 39th minute. The home side though had another similar free kick awarded right towards the end of the first half as Uilliams again took the freekick but this time beat the keeper but struck the post much to the delight of the visiting team. The remainder of the first half was played out cautiously with both coaches happy to settle for the draw before the break and content with chasing the game in the second half.
The match resumed after the break and the home team were the first to create any opportunities. Uilliams who had been in charge of free kick duties for The Reds almost curled in another beauty from the left flank but the ball just scrapes the top of the net. The home side got another chance when Uilliams curled in a beautiful pass for Isaac Vanmalsawma but the youngster hurried his shot just over the crossbar. The Lajong show however did not last long as the away side managed to grab the lead again against the run of play.
Cornell Glen was released on the left hand side and he ran at Samuel Shadap and just as it has looked like the attack would end, the Trinidad and Tobago international slot in a beautiful through pass to Katsumi Yusa and the Japanese midfielder opened his body and fired his shot at the keeper’s near post. Vishal Kaith who probably expected the ball to be rounded at the far post was foxed out in the 77th minute even though he managed to get a glove on it. The lead was hard done by for the home side who up till this point have been the better team.
The Reds though parried on right till the last kick of the match, or the last header of the match as Uilliams Souza Silva had other ideas for his team. The Brazilian forward who has been lively all afternoon was the only one chasing an almost lost cause in a long ball that came from the Lajong defence and just as though it looked like Mohun Bagan were to squeeze a win, the Brazilian striker connected with his header and sent the ball into the net right at the 94th minute. The Mohun Bagan fans were silenced and the Lajong supporters went in an uproar as Uilliams ran to celebrate the last minute equaliser.
The draw now has kept Shillong Lajong in 4th position with 15 points from 13 games and Mohun Bagan now have it all to do as they still remain in the top of the standings with 26 points from 15 games but with Bengaluru FC and East Bengal right on their trail.