Shillong Lajong answer Mumbai FC’s challenge with a 1-0 victory

I league
I league

I league

The Sunday I-League game was where Shillong Lajong played hosts to Mumbai FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong. Both the teams having lost their first fixture, Shillong to the Royal Wahindoh in the derby and Mumbai to Mohun Bagan were eager to notch up the 3 points at stake.

Mumbai FC coach K. Jamil was clearly looking to attack in this encounter and this was evident in his starting 11 which featured the likes of forwards Rane, M. Rafi and Josimar. His counterpart, Shillong coach however surfaced an evenly balanced unit.

The beginning of the match saw a mid field battle as both the teams were unable to establish themselves firmly in the opponent’s half and there was just one real attack in the 3rd minute when Mumbai tested the Lajong backline.

The 13th minute was when the first attempt was registered by Lajong, Cornell Glen had the ball just outside the box and he scooped in a pass to Samuel on the right side who lofted it in but the alert Mumbai goalkeeper Sanjiban put in a punch for the clearance.

17 minutes down in the first half and Mumbai were trying to attack but a lack of communication and execution was marring their chances. However in the 26th minute, Rafi fired a firm shot straight on goal as Shillong keeper Rehenesh managed to grab it with ease.

The visitors were not to bow down, Josimar raced inside the Lajong half and Md. Rafi nudged in a header on target but yet again Rehenesh came to the Shillong’s aid.

On the other side, Penn Orji was being effectively marked by the Mumbai defense with his best shot coming in from a spot in the center on the 35th minute on Justin Stephen foul but it was headed out of danger.

A free kick on the 42nd minute found Mumbai youngster Ashutosh Mehta at the center who kicked in a powerful shot which struck Orji and thus avoided the goal. A few moments later Rehenesh made a fine save on a dangerous cross.

After a pretty much dull outing, both teams went into the halftime break with a goal less scoreline.

The second half and Shillong Lajong were looking a different side as they launched successive attacks on goal.

Early on, Doungel messed up a good ball in the 48th minute as it dragged past the nets. The urgent Red’s then had Glen warding off 3 Mumbai players on the run in the 50th minute but his shot was rifled over the cross bar.

Lajong were awarded a free kick in the 56th minute after a foul on Penn Orji. The spot was just 10 yards from the Mumbai box and Boithang Haokip nailed in on the opportunity as he fired it in straight into the goal for the ball to meet the white nets. A brilliant goal, gave Shillong the much needed lead after a constant bout of perseverance.

Mumbai brought in Vashum and Milagres for a double substitution in the 63rd minute as Rafi and Rane came off. While the half time substitution for the Red’s Uilliam was regularly creating opportunities with a particular long ranger in the 68th minute but it just flew past the cross bar.

Khalid Jamil’s men had two chances to pull it back but they failed to take advantage of the situation. A header crashed off the bar in the 73rd minute and moments later another opportunity was let away when a Lajong defender cleared the ball just off the line.

A mini heart attack was given to the home supporters when Josimar’s 85th minute shot churning out just wide past the nets. Mumbai were on the lookout for an equalizer.

With 5 minutes of injury time, the last try came from Lajong as Orji had the ball in front of the box on the left and tried to get it in near the right post but missed it!

So the match ended with a 1-0 victory for the hosts, Shillong Lajong as they registered their first I-League win of the season while Mumbai are yet to open their account on the points table with two away losses.

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