In a pulsating I-league Round 15 encounter at the Duler Stadium , at Mapusa in Goa, Shillong Lajong had to settle for a goal-less draw against hosts Sporting Clube De Goa ,and would consider themselves unlucky to not have walked away with the three points ,after dominating much of the game.
It was all Lajong in the first half, with the first shot coming in as early as the 9th minute , as Friday shot wide of goal , which could have given the visitors an early upper hand. Sporting though, suffered an early setback,when Dawson Fernandes had to limped out due to injury and was replaced by Victotino Fernandes in the 7th minute.
The Reds then had another missed opportunity in the 33rd minute when Lalramluaha Hmar ‘s shot went wide of the goal .The hosts were on the backfoot quite early in the game ,but came back strongly to make it an even contest. The first half ended on an even note as both teams had a fairly good chance of taking the lead.
On the other side of the break ,in the 52nd minute Lalramluaha Hmar’s set-piece was crossed into the Sporting box by Friday, but Sushil Singh’s fierce header was parried away by keeper Ashok Singh ,to once again deny the Reds of the lead.
Shillong Lajong coach Desmond Bulpin then brought in 17 year old Jacob for Chitrasen in the 52nd minute and in the 79th minute Bipin Singh was brought in for Friday Gbeneme.
The host also made a couple of changes in the second half, in the 65 minute ,with Ningthoujam Samananda Singh coming in for Stephen Barretto and in the 85 minute when Victorino Fernandes was substituted for Rowllin Borges .
The fag end of the evenly-poised match saw some goal to goal action from both the teams, -Eugeneson Lyngdoh nearly snatching a late goal for the Reds with a blistering 30-yard freekick and Sughishita missing from a close range header on two occasions in the dying minutes of the game. In the end, both teams would consider the draw-goalless as it was, to be a fair result, more so for the Reds, who would take heart from a wonderful display of football on away soil.