Ten-man Shillong Lajong defeated DSK Shivajians 3-2 in the ongoing 38th edition of the Hero Federation Cup at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack today.
Lajong played with a man down for the latter half of the second half after Vishal Kaith was sent off in the 75th minute. Strikes by Alen Deory (49’) and Redeem Tlang (68’) for Lajong cancelled Halicharan Narzary’s brace (64’, 86’). But Lajong left it late as Samuel Lalmuanpuia scored for Lajong in the dying embers (90+2') to give the Shillong outfit their first win of the tournament.
Dave Roger’s men started the half on a positive note and dominated possession but Lajong came back strong in the first half giving the DSK defence a scare now and then. In the 10th minute, Chinglensana Singh’s thumping header flew inches past the goal after Isaac delivered a delicious cross from a free-kick scenario.
DSK pushed back and it would have been in fashion had Dave Roger’s men taken the lead in the 42ndminute. However relentless attacks started by the Pune-based outfit from the 34th minute after Ricky’s shot guarded off by the Lajong defence line. Three minutes after Mawihmingthanga raced down the flanks and with no real pressure, the DSK forward could only earn a save from a diving Kaith.
In the 42nd minute, the ball miraculously stayed out of Shillong Lajong’s net after hitting the upright twice, first the left pole and then the right, following a Lallianzuala shot which went beneath Kaith. Both Teams went into the half-time on level pegging.
Lajong wasted no time in the second half and got their attacking groove on from the whistle. Thangboi Singto’s men attacked with fluidity and after testing the DSK defence in the opening minutes, the Shillong-based outfit took the lead in the 49th minute when Alen Deory took advantage of an uncanny clearance inside the DSK box and scored.
DSK although dominated possession in the final third, the Pune outfit lacked the necessary prowess to finish their chances. In the 58th minute, Lallianzuala bombarded into the Lajong box and even rounded their custodian up. But the DSK forward failed to score and could only make do with a back pass.
Lajong had a golden opportunity to double their lead in the 62nd minute but Alen Deory’s header off a cross from the left flank went wide of the goal, with no real pressure.
Thangboi Singto’s men paid the price of that missed opportunity two minutes later when Halicharan Narzary for DSK Shivajians rattled the net by a thunderous shot to bring the teams on level proceedings.
However, Lajong had other plans and instead of sitting back and defending against the DSK attack, the Reds chose attack as the form of their defence and it paid dividends. In the 68th minute, Alen Deroy’s cross had been parried away by Kaith onto Redeem Tlang’s stride and Tlang made no mistake to drive the ball home giving Lajong the lead again.
Lajong custodian Vishal Kaith was shown the red card in the 75th minute to leave Thangboi Singto’s men a man down for the remainder of the match.
The Shillong outfit defended as a team and saw off the DSK attacks but Halicharan Narzary produced a moment of genius in the 86th minute after his peach of a shot from distance went straight into the top corner. But Samuel scored in the dying embers of the match to give Lajong the lead and the win. The full-time scoreline read 3-2 in Lajong's favour.