I-League: Shillong Lajong dominates Chennai City FC

The host impressed with its dominance with a goal in the 20th minute that was the result of a nice build-up from the right as Isaac Chhakchhuak sped up the flank to set a measured floater in the CCFC box.

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Shillong Lajong FC (SLFC) completed a hat-trick of wins at home downing visiting Chennai City FC (CCFC) 2-0 here at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Tuesday. Cameroon striker Aser Dipanda struck once in each half to help the host pick up the full quota of points.

The host impressed with its dominance with a goal in the 20th minute that was the result of a nice build-up from the right as Isaac Chhakchhuak sped up the flank to set a measured floater in the CCFC box. Dipanda followed the ball well and nodded it home before Abhra Mondal could charge out from his position under the bar to salvage the situation.

Four minutes later, SLFC almost got its second goal but for a clearance from the line by the CCFC right-back Yumnam Raju, who came in the way of the host’s forward Samuel Lalmuanpuia’s effort. The lucky escape underlined the hesitancy in CCFC’s defensive array as the host kept a relentless pressure.

The SLFC coach Thangboi Singto set an example for other teams to follow employing eight under-22 players, against the tournament regulation of having one player of the age-group, in the team. The visiting team discovered this decision much to its discomfiture as it failed to keep up with the speed and fitness of the youthful host. In an effort to minimise the damage from the marauding opposition, CCFC picked up two bookings, with its Afghanistan defender Haroon Amiri and Brazilian striker Marcos Tank entering the list of cautions. Substitute Denson Devadas got his name added in the list as CCFC continued to struggle with its attack even after the break.

The problem with CCFC lay in the midfield where it seemed to be losing the possession with its central halves Fanai Liandala Sena and Darren Caldeira struggling against the quickness of the opposition counterparts like Isaac and Redeem Tlang. The CCFC coach Robin Cherles Raja tried to effectuate the midfield making two changes after the break but that did not help much as Devadas and Abhishek Das could not spruce up the action.

The combination of Dipanda and Isaac did the trick for Lajong once again as the host doubled the lead in the 64th minute, gaining from its brand of pressing football. Isaac sent his free-kick into the CCFC box, which the latter's defenders failed to clear. Dipanda made the most out of the confusion in the goalmouth to fetch the insurance goal. Chennai tried some late assaults but the efforts from Cherles de Souza and substitute Lalnunmawia could not alter the scoreline.

Shillong Lajong FC tallied nine points from six matches while Chennai City FC remained on four points collected from six outings.

The result: Shillong Lajong FC 2 (Aser Dipanda 20, 64) bt Chennai City FC 0. Man of the match – Aser Dipanda

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