​Lajong blanks East Bengal to reach maiden U-18 Youth League final

Phrangki Buam scored a brace to steer Shillong Lajong to its first U-18 Youth League after a 2-0 win over East Bengal.

Lajong players celebrate a goal during their tie against East Bengal on Thursday.   -  AIFF

Shillong Lajong FC rode on winger Phrangki Buam's brace to advance to the final of the U-18 Youth League with a 2-0 win over East Bengal in the second semifinal at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong on Thursday.

Lajong had the better of the early exchanges and EB gradually got back into it. Lyngdoh made his presence felt for Lajong with a pacy run and a subsequent shot in the 17th minute, but his effort was saved by the EB goalkeeper Ayan Roy.

READ: Kerala Blasters beats SAI Kolkata, moves into final

Once EB had weathered the storm, it launched a string of attacks. Suranjit Singh was nearly clean through on goal, but was foiled by a brilliant tackle by Romen Singh in the 34th minute.Six minutes later, the Manipuri lad had another opportunity, but his shot was palmed clear by Lajong goalkeeper Neithovilie Chalieu.

Freestar Kharbangar, three minutes before half-time,had a golden chance to put Lajong ahead, but drilled his effort wide.

Lajong began the second half on an attacking note and the EB 'keeper was kept busy as he made saves from Donboklang Lyngdoh and Pravaj Bhuiya in the opening 15 minutes.

Lajong found the opener in the 75th minute when Phrangki slotted a brilliant free-kick home, to send the Lajong faithful into wild celebration. EB had a great chance to equalise five minutes later when Jhantu Prasad picked out Lalcchanhima at the far post, but Chalieu’s interception denied the Mizo striker.

Lajong sealed the tie in the 86th minute when Phrangki converted from the spot to extend his side's lead and with it, secure Lajong's place in the final.

Lajong will take on Kerala Blasters in the final on Saturday at the same venue.

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