SHILLONG: McDowell Mohun Bagan took the top spot in the Hero I-League standings with an entertaining 4-3 victory over Shillong Lajong FC at the JN Stadium here on Friday.
A brace for Balwant Singh within 15 minutes put the visitors in a strong position before Lajong responded with a goal from Cornell Glen later in the first half. Glen then equalised in the second half with a penalty kick before Yusa Katsumi helped Bagan retake the lead.
A foul in the box on Sony Norde by Lajong captain Aiborlang Khongjee resulted in Pierre Boya slotting home for their fourth goal. However, Uilliams Souza Silva clawed one back in the dying minutes of the game, but Lajong still ended the vanquished side.
Mohun Bagan now have 14 points from six matches and that takes them to the top spot, ahead of Royal Wahingdoh FC and Pune FC. SLFC remain in the ninth place with six points.
The Mariners started the game in the best way possible when they caught Lajong napping a little bit at the back. Balwant seized advantage and got the ball past goalkeeper Rehenesh TP. Just 12 minutes later Balwant got his double after a deflection off a Lajong player found him in good position in front of the goal.
The Reds then responded strongly and their efforts paid off in the 27th minute when a corner kick was met with the head of Glen, who put the ball into the net.
Shillong Lajong continued to look the more attacking side in the second session and a handball by Pritam Kotal in the box presented the home team with an opportunity to equalise in the 63rd minute.
Just over 10 minutes later Bagan retook the lead when a cross from the left was well met by Katsumi just metres from the goalmouth. A bad challenge from Khongjee on Norde then gave Bagan their own penalty kick, which Boya took care of with no problems.
A never say die attitude saw Lajong continued to attack, however. Deep on the left in the 89th minute, a cross along the ground was let through by Glen deliberately to allow Uilliams to slam the ball into the net with his left boot.
A cracker of a contest, Lajong’s fans can take some solace from how their team fought hard, but ultimately the game ended in disappointment for the Lajong Fans.
Hero of the Match – Dhanachandra Singh (MMB).