In a festive centric cold wintry afternoon, Shillong Lajong FC tasted their first home defeat of the season at the hands of Neroca FC in the second North East derby of the season. Neroca won by 1-0. The match started at 2 PM today at the JN Stadium in Shillong.
It was Subash Singh who scored from a header in the 83rd minute against the flow of the game to give the visitors the three points.
Captain Samuel Lalmuanpuia was brought back in the squad to replace Shaibor up front.
The host started the game in a defensive way as Neroca went with an attacking intent right from the kick-off. Lawrence and Juho Oh were on their toes to lead the defence to handle the first batch of attack from the visitors.
Shillong Lajong had their first real chance at the 16th-minute mark when Lawrence’s long ball found the feet of Kynsai who failed to control it and Neroca keeper collected the ball with ease after a fumble. Lajong then had two back to back chances but did not manage to pose any real threat at the opposition’s goal.
In the 27th-minute mark, Yemen international Aiman found himself clear on goal after an inch-perfect ball from Samuela but his shot went whiskers away off the post. It was then the goalkeeper Phurba’s time to shine as he was brought into action to tip-off Neroca defender Kallon’s header from a corner.
The first half ended goalless as the last action of the half again saw Phurba punch away a Neroca freekick to prevent the visitors from scoring.
Shillong Lajong started the second half on a different note as the hosts were more dominating on the ball straight from the kick-off and Samuela soon found himself with the ball inside the box after an error by the Neroca defence, but his shot went well above the post.
Aiman was finding the ball a lot in the opposition half and after a blistering run down the right flank the forward managed to find Samuela just in front of goal but he failed to connect the ball well enough. Goalkeeper Phurba was also finding himself amongst the action as he had to pull off a brilliant save to keep striker Chidi off the goal.
Lajong then went out on an attacking spree and managed to have two back to back clear chances on goal, courtesy of none other than Aiman who saw both of his efforts hit the post. The Neroca defence was put on a real test as Samuela, Redeem and Aiman were creating chances after chances but did not manage to find the back of the net.
It was rather Neroca FC who managed to break the deadlock and score the opening goal of the match. In the 83rd minute, Neroca caught the host on the break and Pritam Singh’s cross found the head of unmarked Subash Singh in the box who didn’t make any mistake to put the ball past Phurba to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Lajong then found themselves on the back foot trying to find the equaliser but the visiting team stood strong and defended well to keep the attacks away and protect the single goal lead. The referee added on six extra minutes, but The Reds didn’t manage to score a goal and ended up with their first home defeat of the season.
Shillong Lajong FC will now travel to Delhi to take on Indian Arrows on 26th of December at 2 PM.