Shillong, Feb 22: Shillong Lajong FC held Gokulam Kerala FC to a 1-1 draw in their penultimate home game of the Hero I-League 2018-19 season here on Friday.
Marcus Joseph scored the opening goal for the visitors in the 42nd minute and Lajong Captain Samuel Lalmuanpuia scored from the penalty spot in the 65th minute to make the score-line 1-1 and reached the milestone of 10 I-League goals in his career. With the draw on Friday, Lajong has 11 points from 18 games.
The Reds started the game with two changes as injured Phurba Lachenpa was replaced by Neithovilie Chalieu and Rakesh Pradhan came back into the squad replacing Kynsailang Khongsit. The Reds struggled in the early minutes of the game conceding a couple of corners but Gokulam didn’t manage to keep their efforts on target to trouble Neitho at goal.
Lajong then shifted gear and started to create chances up front but couldn’t trouble the Gokulam defence. Late into the half, Gokulam Kerala were able to find an opening through the left and it was their Trinidadian forward Marcus Joseph who curled one past Neitho to give the visitors the lead in the 42nd minute. Despite Lajong trying hard to create pressure up front, the score-line remained 0-1 during the half-time.
Coach Alison made a substitution going into the second half as Samuel Lalmuanpuia came in to replace Phrangki Buam. Lajong soon had to deal with another setback as Nabin Rabha had to leave with an injury being replaced by Sheen Sohktung. With the two substitutions, Lajong started to dominate the possession and create opportunities in the opposition half. Kitboklang Pale was through on goal a couple of instances but the alert Gokulam goalkeeper denied him from getting his second goal of the season.
In the 64th minute, Gokulam’s defender Daniel Addo took out Rakesh Pradhan inside their own half awarding Lajong a penalty. Captain Samuel Lalmuanpuia stepped up to the spot-kick and blast it past the Gokulam’s keeper to make it 1-1. In the 81st minute, Gokulam’s Guilherme de Castrowas sent off for an off the ball incident which allowed Lajong to dominate the game with a man advantage.
Samuel Lalmuanpuia had a sigh on goal from distance on a couple of instances. In the remaining minutes he couldn’t go past the resilient Gokulam defence and the score-line by the end of regulation time and the match ended 1-1.
Mahesh Singh of Shillong Lajong was adjudged the Hero of the Match, making it his third Award of the season.
Shillong Lajong will now travel to Aizawl to face Aizawl FC on March 4.