MMB 2 – 1 SLFC
It was the home side that got the first goal from the very first chance of the match as early as the 5th minute. Lajong Defender, Jibon Singh and Mohun Bagan, midfielder, Katsumi Yusa found themselves in an ugly tangle inside the box before Pritam Kotal took the ball off them and put in a chipped cross which was successfully converted by Pritam Kotal just outside the 6 yard box. The goal lifted the spirits of The Mariners who started the game without the experienced Odafa Okolie and Nigerian defender Echezona.
Shillong Lajong had to wait till the 33rd minute to create their first real chance of the match having held possession prior to that. Glen was one on one with the goalkeeper having beaten the Mariner’s offside trap but could not convert as he fired his shot wide. Lajong again should have scored in the 40th minute but only for Tuboi to again squander his chance and could not put his team up in level terms before the break. Shillong Lajong FC went into the break finding themselves behind but also having created chances towards the end of the half.
The second half started in total contrast with the first half as Shillong Lajong FC created a lot of early chances. The best chance came early in the 49th minute when Subash Singh’s right footed volley, hit the crossbar. Thangboi Singto made a tactical switch in the 59th minute by bringing on Boithang Haokip in place of the under impressive Niwan -O- Gatphoh. A beautiful lobbed pass by Taisuke over the Mohun Bagan defense found Boithang inside the box who fired his shot into the roof of the net and put his side on level terms with only his first touch after coming on. The match was very much in the balance with both teams vying for possession and creating plenty of attacking plays. It was however the hosts who found the net once again in the 74th minute after Chizoba ran past Jibon Singh and then fired his shot into the goal with Lajong custodian Lalthuammawia Ralte having no chance.
Shillong Lajong kept creating chances towards the end but their tactics went in vain as they found no second goal that would salvage a point for them. The match ended with much delight for Mohun Bagan AC who collected all three points.
Shillong Lajong FC has now ended their I-League campaign with 33 points from 23 games and will have to wait on the encounter between Dempo and Pune tomorrow to secure a 5th or 6th position in the I-League table.