Issac’s Strike Secures Lajong In Hero I-League

SHILLONG: Little-known Issac Vanmalsawma Chhakchhuak turned out to be the hero of the day as hosts Shillong Lajong FC beat Kingfisher East Bengal on Sunday evening to not only avoid relegation but catapult their position to sixth in the standings of the Hero I-League.

The Reds had everything at stake coming into this make or break tie and not only did they bend their backs but ensured that they give the 8000-odd crowd a lot to cheer about by evading a drop into the second tier of Indian football.

The result, however, meant that fellow Northeasterners Aizawl FC will not feature in the next edition of Hero I-League.

It was a disappointing start for Trevor Morgan who would have to wait till the Federation Cup to find a win with the Red & Golds on his second spell. East Bengal finished third with 25 points while Lajong have amassed 18 points to finish sixth.

Issac struck gold a minute after the hour mark to send the crowd into raptures. Eventually, it was an “all’s well that ends well” kind of scenario for the hosts who breathed a sigh of relief as the referee blew the long whistle.

Lajong had to garner at least one point to ensure that they survive to fight another season and they did that in style by adding three points to their tally.

The jubilation and relief was visible on the face of Lajong coach Thangboi Singto as the players got the vociferous crowd into the act towards the fag end of the tie. Indeed, the entire JN Stadium was relieved to see the Reds making the cut.

Earlier, Lajong started on a visibly determined note dominating the early exchanges. Fabio Pena was in the thick of action lurking dangerously in the East Bengal box. The first real chance of the match came in the 10th minute when Fabio picked a long ball on the left only to smash it wide of the far post.

Penn Orji, meanwhile, was at his sublime best in the midfield, building things up for the Reds.

Kingfisher East Bengal threatened to go into the lead at the stroke of half hour but a Ranti Martins header from a good position went wide of the target. The Red & Golds custodian and a former Lajong man Rehenesh TP, meanwhile, was on his toes throughout, thwarting many a Lajong advance especially initiated by Fabio and Uilliams Silva.

Crossing over Fabio had his first good look at the goal in the 56 min when a decent diving save by Rehenesh denied the Brazilian another opportunity.

However, barely five minutes later danger came from the most unexpected corner for the visitors. Midfielder Issac Vanmalsawma took an aim at the nets after receiving the ball from Fabio. A deflection of Arnab Mondal beat Rehenesh to send the Lajong players, coach, support staff and of course crowd into raptures.

The Reds thereafter did well to squeeze top scorer Ranti Martins denying him free movement as the cheers grew louder with the passage of every minute. A well-marked Ranti could do nothing to convert of a Sanju cross in the 82nd minute.

Lajong, meanwhile, were denied again in the 87th minute by Rehenesh’s excellence in front of the crossbar. The last real chance for the visitors came in the stoppage time when a shot by Sanju Pradhan from a difficult angle on the right was grabbed by Kunzang Bhutia, playing his first game of the season.

by i-league media

Somaiya Sports Academy to conduct trials for MFA 2nd Division campaign

Somaiya Sports Academy is looking for passionate young football players for the Somaiya Sports Academy Football Team to compete in the MFA 2nd Division League 2023-2024. If selected, you will…


BFC Soccer Schools – Mumbai to conduct trials for U14 & U16 Girls

The BFC Soccer Schools Elite team girls’ trials are coming up in search of talented players from the U14 to U16 (Born 2009 and after) age groups into the club’s…


Opportunity to make the team: U.K.M. Kothrud FC conducts selection trials for girls team

Pune-based U.K.M. Kothrud FC has announced that they will be conducting selection trials for their girl’s team on 15th January 2023 The club welcomes all players to come and showcase…


The Sunday Football League Season 4 is back

The Sunday Football League is back with its fourth season, and it’s shaping up to be the best one yet. With eight talented teams competing at the Kes Kandivali turf, there…


BFC Soccer Schools Elite team trials in Feb

Bengaluru FC launched their Mumbai program last season with the Soccer Schools and Elite programs with its local partner Soccer Schools of Excellence (SSE).  Bengaluru Football Club is a professional club…


India Khelo Football Season 2 Trials in Mumbai: A Chance to Kickstart Your Football Career

After conducting trials in 34 cities & villages across India, India Khelo Football is coming to Mumbai to hunt talent on 7th January. India Khelo Football kickstarted its season 2…


Mumbai Customs to conduct trials for Elite League

Former champions Mumbai Customs will be holding open trials for the upcoming MFA Elite Corporate League (Elite Division) The 2019 MFA Elite Division champions Mumbai Customs are conducting open trials…


Sunday Boys to hold trials for MFA 1st Division

MFA 1st division side Sunday Boys FC will be conducting trials in the first week of November for the upcoming football season Sunday Boys Football Club was established in the…


Millat FC to hold trials for MFA Elite Premier League

Millat FC – a club plying their trade in MFA Elite Division will be conducting open trials for their upcoming 2022-23 season Last season Millat had a decent run in…


MFA Elite Division club KSA to conduct trials for the upcoming season

Karnataka Sporting Association (KSA) – a club plying their trade in MFA Elite Division will be conducting open trials for their upcoming 2022-23 season Last season KSA had an amazing…