Shillong Lajong FC emerged as the champions of the Gionee Shillong Premier League 2016 after defeating Rangdajied United FC by 3-2 in what was a thrilling grand finale held at the JN Stadium Shillong on Wednesday evening.
The Reds are now Meghalaya’s best team for three consecutive years, after winning the championship in the 2014, 2015 and now the 2016 edition.
Shillong Lajong FC who dominated the top spot throughout the league stage fought very hard to defend the title in the grand finale against Rangdajied United and scored three goals in today’s game with a brace from Lalrammuana and one goal by super sub Alen Deory.
Thangboi Singto’s boys started the game with confidence and looked very calm and composed. Although it took time for the Reds to settle in the match, they looked very dangerous in front of goal and were threatening their opponent’s half continuously. After all the attacks in front, they finally opened the account and took the lead in the 22nd minute of the match when Isaac Vanmalsawma’s free kick was not cleared by the Rangdajied defence and it was met by Lalrammuana for an easy tap into the net.
After conceding the goal, the RUFC players started to make some better moves up front and managed to earn their first corner in the 30th minute of the game but nothing productive came out of it. Then in the 41st minute, their foreign recruit James Moga tried a long ranger but it went wide of the left post.
Shillong Lajong FC went into the break with a 1-0 lead against Rangdajied United FC.
After the break, Rangdajied United FC levelled the score line with the goal from James Moga in the 46th minute of the match. The Lajong keeper received a back pass from his team mate but then he slipped near the right post and Moga was quick to take advantage of his slip as the ball made one bounce for him to easily head it into the net.
From here on the game got very exciting as the pressure started to build up and Lajong knew they had to continue their attacking display in order to come with another goal.
In the 53rd minute, Lajong youngsters came very close to regain their lead. Bipin Singh made a good run inside the box and then crossed the ball to find Samuela but the latter’s shot went straight to the Rangdajied keeper.
Lajong Head Coach, Thangboi Singto, made a quick substitution in the 61st minute and brought on Alen Deory for Samuela.
Alen then entered the pitch when Lajong were awarded a free kick from the referee. Barely three seconds on, Alen Deory converted to help his team restore the lead. Lajong were then leading by 2-1.
But just seven minutes later, the Blues cancelled Lajong’s lead once again to level the score at 2-2. Debin Roy Shangprung with the goal this time.
Today’s game truly got the spectators on the edge of their seats as everyone was eager to witness the winning goal.
Then two minutes later, it was Shillong Lajong FC’s top goal scorer this season, Lalrammuana who netted the winning goal in the 70th minute. Isaac’s diagonal ball from the centre half found Redeem on the right wing, who controlled the ball very well to lay it across goal for Lalrammuana for an easy tap in, in the 70th minute.
Rangadjied tried hard to level the score line again but could not penetrate the Lajong defence. The referee eventually blew the final whistle in the end and Lajong won the Gionee Shillong Premier League for the third consecutive year.