I-League: Shivajians beats ‘home-favourite’ Lajong in Shillong

Two first half strikes by Sanju Pradhan (16′) and Shane McFaul (44′) sealed the fate for Shivajians as a strike from Dipanda Dicka (33′) was not sufficient to secure a point for Lajong.

Despite the loss, Lajong will retain the fourth spot for now even as Shivajians, which won its first away match today, strengthens its position at the sixth spot.   -  I-League Media

A spirited DSK Shivajians broke Shillong Lajong’s winning streak at home, beating the Reds 2-1 in a well-contested eighth round match of the Hero I-League at the JLN Stadium in Shillong on Saturday.

Two first half strikes from Sanju Pradhan (16th minute) and Shane McFaul (44th minute) sealed the fate of the tie and a strike from Dipanda Dicka (33rd minute) was not sufficient to secure a point for the host.

Lajong had won four matches on the trot before this and was desperately looking for a clean sweep of five home games before it embarks on its away campaign.

Nevertheless, it was one of the better-contested ties in Shillong which saw the host fighting it out till the last minute. Despite the loss, Lajong will retain the fourth spot for now even as Shivajians, which won its first away match, strengthens its position at the sixth spot.

It was an action-packed encounter from the outset with Sanju Pradhan making early inroads. Pradhan was given room in front of the Lajong box in the fourth minute but his right-footed shot crashed the outside netting.

It was Lajong’s turn three minutes later when Isaac spotted Rupert on the right flank and the ball was slotted back for the former to chip one in for Dicka. But the Cameroonian could not reach the ball.

Pradhan displayed his excellence in the 16th minute when he cut past two defenders to chip one in for Narzary. A defensive header from Samuel took the ball back to Pradhan, who tapped it in for the breakthrough.

Three minutes after the half-hour mark, in-form Dicka got the host right back into the game with a shot on target. An Isaac corner kick had gone deep and Samuel slammed it on a defender as Dicka scored off the rebound.

A minute before half-time, McFaul dealt the decisive blow to make it 2-1. Lajong custodian Vishal Kaith failed to gather a corner kick by Juan Quero as an alert McFaul tapped it in with ease.

Crossing over both sides maintained the intensity with Lajong fighting for the equaliser and Shivajians holding strong. A touch unlucky, Lajong missed a golden opportunity to make a comeback when Chinglensana’s header off an Isaac free-kick hit the top of the crossbar in the seventy-third minute.

Lajong’s efforts were thereafter denied at least on two occasions by the brilliant Subrata Paul. An acrobatic Paul first saw off a scorcher by Yuta Kinowaki in the 74th minute and later made a desperate dive on the right to deny a cross from the edge on the right.

In the end, it was a well-earned victory for the visitor.

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