Shillong Lajong will be progressing further into the Hero I-League 2017-18 with renewed confidence after avenging their 0-3 loss against Indian Arrows by beating their opponents 1-0 in their backyard on Monday (January 8, 2018).
Lajong’s foreign recruit Koffi (80′) scored the only goal of the match getting the better of Prabhsukhan Gill to have the last laugh in the gruelling duel at the JLN Stadium in Shillong tonight.
Both teams started in the 4-2-3-1 formation with each team trying to get the upper hand over the other. Arrows coach handed Roshan Singh his first start in Hero I-League 2017-18 and Deepak Tangri combined with Asish Rai in the defence while Anwar Ali, Sanjeev Stalin, Boris Singh were rested along with Jeakson Singh at the midfield.
Shillong Lajong were taking a more direct and aggressive approach to the match as they had the Arrows on the backfoot.
The first half of the match was dominated by Lajong as they kept attacking the Arrows defence. It looked like the Matos led side were not the same team they had been when they played Lajong in their previous encounter.
Meanwhile, the moment of glory came for the young goalie Prabhsukhan Gill when he jumped to his left to save skipper Samuel Lalmuanpuia’s spot-kick.
Deepak Tangri, following a tackle on Koffi, handled the ball inside the box and the referee didn’t hesitate to award a penalty kick to the hosts but the skipper’s right-footed shot was comfortably saved by the goalie.
Lajong created many chances to score during the first half of the match but none were successful in finding the net.
Arrows goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Singh Gill also proved that he was a force to be reckoned with as he made some impressive saves for his team.
The second half started off with a substitution from the Arrows side. P. Robello filled in for Abhijit Sarkar in the 46th minute. Lajong also made some changes of its own by replacing Rakesh Pradhan with Allen Lyngdoh in the 56th minute.
Aiman gave away a golden chance to put Lajong in the lead during 57th minute as Asish Rai messed up his clearance.
Arrows tried their best to spread out over the field and up their game but the Lajong players were intercepting their passes well and maintained the intensity of their attack.
After an onslaught of attacks on Arrows, Lajong’s winning goal finally came in the 80th minute when Lajong forward Abdoulaye Koffi raced into the box, past the outstretched Jitendra and delivered a wonderful shot into the roof of the net.
Lajong almost had doubled their lead in the 84th minute when captain Samuel Lalmuanpuia delivered a free kick which bumped onto the crossbar.
Shillong Lajong, after a winless run for four games, now leapfrog Mohun Bagan to earn back the fourth spot on the league table with 14 points and the youngsters stay on the eighth spot with as many points.
Lajong will now host red-hot Minerva Punjab FC on 14th January whereas Arrows will host Neroca FC at the Tilak Maidan in Goa two days later.