Shillong Lajong FC was held to a goalless draw by the visiting Mumbai FC in the first round of matches at the Hero I-League 2015-16 Season.
The match began brightly with the home side looking comfortable on the ball and creating the first chance of the match on just the first minute. Penn Orji found himself with the ball just outside the box but only to fire his shot wide off the post. Mumbai began to get a strong hold on the game after the first ten minutes and won key battles in midfield.
The visitors themselves had some promising chances that could have opened the score. Eric Brown had a long range shot just scraped wide off the post. The first half continued in similar fashion but with The Reds having enjoyed more possession of the ball. The home side could have gone one up in the 30th minute as the best chance arguably fell to Fabio Henrique. The Brazilian forward brought down a careful lobbed pass over the Mumbai defense but could not contain his composure as he rushed at his shot which went wide off the post.
Mumbai then followed the Lajong chance with one of their own when Sushil Singh fired a fizzing shot from outside the box only for Lajong custodian to pull off a brilliant stop and the rebound fell to Taisuke Matsugae who scuffed his shot at the Lajong keeper’s hands. The double save kept Lajong at level terms as the match went into the break.
The cold evening resumed after half time with either side disappointed at not scoring from good chances in the first half. The tempo of the match died down a little. The second half was a tight encounter with both midfielders from the two sides relishing the contest. The only clear chance that dropped to the home side came through a free kick in the 72nd minute. Brazilian striker Uilliams Souza fired a long range free kick just over the crossbar.
There were not as many clear cut chances besides a last minute opportunity for the visitors to grab a late winner. A well worked move from Eric Brown down the right flank freed the Mumbai winger for a cross that was headed against the post much to relief of the home crowd.
The match went on with both teams happy to play out a draw in the chilly weather as the final whistle blew with the scores drawing a blank. The draw then brings in the first points for both teams in their first Hero i-league match but even though the two sides could have converted from scoring opportunities they will be happy with a point a piece.
Hero of the Match : Vishal Kaith (Shillong Lajong FC, Goalkeeper)