Shillong Lajong FC and Randajied United FC play out a draw

Airtel i-League 2013-14
Shillong Lajong FC 1-1 Rangdajied United FC
SLFC: T.Matsugae(71st)
RUFC: Yohei Iwasaki(19th)

With expectations high and both sides under tremendous pressure, Shillong Lajong FC and Rangdajied United FC played out an exciting 1-1 draw in the first ever Shillong derby here on Friday evening.

Early action was split between the teams with both sides earning free kicks in the opposite half, but the chances went begging on both occasions.

Rangdajied United, fielding four of the players taken on loan from IMG-R, looked good, with David Ngaihte producing a half chance in the eighth minute. On the left, at a tight angle, he fired the ball across the face of the goalmouth, but no one was there to head it in.

Gouramangi Singh, Tomba Singh, Manandeep Singh and Subrata Paul under the bar all had work to do in their first outing in Rangdajied colours.

The Shillong Derby ended in a draw
It was Japanese signing Yohei Iwasaki, however, who provided the breakthrough, heading the ball in for a 19th minute goal. Action in the Lajong half yielded a corner for the Blues, which was taken by Shin Hojun.

The players sprinted forward when the kick was taken, with Iwasaki powering it in past goalkeeper Vinay Singh.

The pressure eased somewhat for Rangdajied, who were winless in their first season of the Airtel I-League. They produced a couple of long-range shots on target in the following minutes, but these went straight to Vinay.

Shillong Lajong, technically the hosts in the derby, had a couple of early openings, but could not create anything out of these half chances.

In the 23rd minute tempers flared slightly when the Reds were awarded a free kick deep on the right flank that Rangdajied were not happy with. Uilliams Souza stepped up to take a beauty that curled away from the three-man wall, but the ball was headed away.

The more experienced I-League outfit had their best opportunity in the first half when Uilliams sprinted up the middle with the ball, relatively untroubled. He fed the ball neatly to Cornell Glen but the Trinidadian could get a proper touch on the ball as it sped past him.

The last few minutes of the first session were dominated by Lajong. They earned a corner in the 42nd minute but the Blues defended their citadel well. Subrata Paul was then called upon to make a good save a minute later.

In the last bit of action of the first session, Lallawmzuala pinpointed an unmarked Glen in the box, but the Trinidadian, instead of passing to his team mate on the right flank, chose to go for it alone and was tripped up, but no foul was called.

Although Rangdajied had held on for the lead going into the second, they were by no means in a secure position, having given up a 2-0 advantage in their last match, to Salgaocar.

The 20,600 crowd were really into the match at the restart, with sections cheering for their favourites.

"Battle for the ball", Airtel i-League 2013-14,
Shillong Lajong FC vs Rangdajied United FC
Lajong came out the more attacking team, playing urgently early on. The ball was almost continually played in Rangdajied’s half, with the men in blue having to defend desperately, with Subrata shining with another good save after an hour’s play.

RUFC were able to create at least one good opportunity. Manandeep was completely open in the middle just 15 yards out, but he could not get a hold of a simple pass that came his way.

Rangdajied made their quota of three substitutions with 20 minutes still to play, bringing on Restomwell Khriam for Joychandra Singh, Bhola Prasad for Tomba Singh and Elam Abocha Singh for captain Eugeneson Lyngdoh, who did not look his best in his first match coming back from injury.

With less than 20 minutes left, the newcomers’ fears were realised when Lajong snatched the equaliser. Boithang Haokip put in a beautiful cross from the left that was on target, but Matsugae was in the right place for the last touch, with the ball glancing off his head and finding the back of the net.

From then on the cheers for “Lajong” drowned out those in favour of the opposition.

The Reds pushed on with Uilliams hitting the bar with less than 10 minutes left on the clock. There was further hurried play, even into the four minutes of stoppage time, but the two teams seemed to run out of really convincing ideas as the action-packed encounter ended 1-1.

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