Shillong, November 29, 2017: The only goal in the second half of the I-League match between Gokulam Kerala FC and Shillong Lajong FC was scored by Alen Deory as GKFC lost to SLFC by 1-0. The match was held on a cold wintery night at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong, Meghalaya on Monday. It was also Shillong Lajong’s first ever I-League match.
On a historic night for Kerala’s sole representatives in the Indian top tier, both Gokulam and Lajong had plenty of opportunities but it took the 21-year-old Deory 78 minutes to find the goal as he headed in from a freekick taken by Lajong’s 19-year-old captain Samuel Lalmuanpuia who ran the show for the hosts throughout.
Samuel had the first opportunity of the game as he slashed wide a freekick in the fourth minute. Emmanuel Chigozie who conceded that freekick was at fault once again in the next minute conceding another in a dangerous position. This time, Samuel tested the goalkeeper , Nikhil Bernand as he tipped his floating freekick over the goal. While the young captain was leading the way for the home side, Gokulam’s veteran skipper Sushanth Mathew also impressed the visitors.
It took Sushanth, playing in the right-back role, a goalline clearance to keep things level after Equatoguinean defender Laurence Doe connected with one of Samuel’s corner in the 15th minute. Four minutes later, Gokulam also came very close to scoring at the other end.
Syrian midfielder Khaled Alsaleh floated in a corner which was headed at the far post by Irshad Thaivalappil but Lajong defender Rakesh Pradhan produced a headed clearance from the goal line to deny the visiting side coached by Bino George.
But Lajong were on the front foot from then on. In the 28th minute, an unmarked Deory’s shot on the turn missed by inches while in the 40th minute, Redeem Talang put through on goal by Samuel, lost control at a crucial moment under pressure from Daniel Addo for custodian Nikhil to swoop the ball from his feet.
The second half started with Gokulam’s most clear-cut chance of the game — Lajong’s young custodian Tempa Lachenpa saved from former Aizawl FC striker Kamo Baye in a one-on-one situation only for the ball to fall for Lelo Mbele who waited to fire his shot and saw his shot blocked by the Lajong defence.
Feature image courtesy: Shillong Lajong FC
Shillong News with inputs from The New Indian Express