Shillong Lajong FC holds league leaders Mohun Bagan to goalless draw in the Hero i-league match today played out in Barasat Stadium, Kolkata.
The match failed to deliver any goals as both teams were wasteful in front of goal but the Mariners custodian; Debjit Majumder who was in the end awarded the Hero of the Match had denied Lajong several times saving his team from suffering a loss.
In their previous encounter of the season, played in Shillong, it was a 7 goal thriller as Mohun Bagan took all three points home. Today’s match however failed to produce any goal, nevertheless it was quite entertaining as Shillong Lajong FC were the more creative side in the first half while Mohun Bagan were more dominant in the second half.
The match kicked off well for Mohun Bagan in the early minutes as they had few chances in front. The Trio of Katsumi, Sony Norde & Pierre Boya alongside Indian International, Balwant Singh, were looking dangerous in attack for the home side and threatening the Lajong defence. It took a while for the visitors from Shillong to get a foot in the game but they slowly gained momentum and started to press forward.
In the 14th minute, Balwant had a chance to chip the ball into the goal after seeing Lajong keeper, Rehenesh off his line but the shot was deflected for a corner. The resulting corner kick was cleared off by Joseph Lalfakzuala but the teenager suffered an injury in the process. He was then replaced by Milan Singh. Cornell Glen should have opened the score sheet in the 20th minute, if not for a brilliant save by the Mohun Bagan keeper. Zoding had made a beautiful diagonal lob to Seiminlen on the right, who then layed it off for Cornell Glen to shoot a superb volley which was destined to a goal, but the ball was parried away by Debjit for a corner. Thereafter, chances started flowing for Lajong with good combination play between Uilliams, Seimilen, Zoding and Penn in attack. Mohun Bagan were ineffective in attack as they were making too many errors in their passes. Then in the 31st minute, Seiminlen with some fantastic dribbling ended up one on one with the keeper but his eventual shot was intercepted by an incoming defender. Chances were falling on either side but both teams failed to score before the half time whistle.
The Mariners kicked off the second half really well with three good chances created for Sony Norde and Balwant Singh in the opening five minutes. Mohun Bagan turned around the game as they were looking more dangerous and enjoyed more ball possession in the second half. The host were building a lot of pressure and testing the Lajong defence on several occasions. The visitors meanwhile seemed to have simmered down as they were finding it difficult to control the ball in front. A clash of heads in the 60th minute between Uilliams Silva and Lalkamal Bhowmick, led to the replacement of the latter with Souvik Chakrabarty for Mohun Bagan. The home crowd were urging their players to score as chance after chance was missed. In the 70th minute, Uilliams could not carry on due to the head clash and subsequently had to substituted by Durga Boro for Lajong. Sony Norde was very unlucky in the 75th minute after his superb free kick hit the bar. Minutes later, it was Seiminlen who could have won the game after receiving a through ball from Cornell Glen with only the keeper to beat, but his shot went just wide. It was the best chance of the match and Lajong could have taken all three points home. Mohun Bagan then made a strategic substitution by replacing Balwant Singh with Jeje in the 78th minute. There were no major talking points in the final ten minutes of the match as both teams didn’t manage to put the ball in the back of the net even after creating numerous chances. The match came to an end with both teams sharing a point each.
Mohun Bagan retain top spot in the I-league table with 25 points from 11 matches and will play their next match against Bharat FC at home on 11th April. Meanwhile, Shillong Lajong move up to 8th position in the I-League table with 11 points from 11 matches played. The Reds will now travel back to Shillong to play the derby against Royal Wahingdoh on the 12th of April 2015.