Shillong Lajong FC played out a goalless draw against Chennai City FC in their first Hero I-League match in 2018 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong on Friday(January 5, 2018).
Going into the match, Chennai City FC had to replace the suspended midfielder Pradeep Mohanraj with Charles Anandraj Lourdusamy while Shillong Lajong’s Kenstar Kharshong filled in for defender Juho Oh.
Both teams looked for an early advantage as the match kicked off. Lajong were more offensive as they mounted the pressure on Chennai City right from the very first minute of play.
However, despite dominating the ball possession for most of the game Chennai City’s defences refused to cave in against the host team.
Lajong forward Abdoulaye Koffi attempted a goal early in the 4th minute but only managed to send the ball straight into the arms of Chennai City’s goalkeeper Uros Poljanec. Chennai City replied in the 6th minute with a shot by Pandiyan Srinivasan which was saved easily by Lajong goalkeeper Phurba Tempa.
At the end of the first half, neither of the two teams could open the deadlock but Lajong’s Laurence Doe earned himself a yellow card after a foul on Jean Michael Joachim.
The second half progressed into a fast pace game as both teams were trying desperately to gain the upper hand. Lajong replaced midfielder Redeem Tlang with Samuel Lalmuanpuia. Defender Laurence Doe was replaced by Aiban after the former injured himself following a collision with Chennai forward Murilo.
Chennai City’s best opportunity came in the 71st minute when Joachim nearly scored what would have been a winning goal for the team. However, in the 77th minute, Lajong’s hopes of victory were dashed when a well-timed kick by Alen Deory hit the crossbar.
With 4 minutes of extra time added to the end of the second half, it was clear to both teams as well as spectators that the match would end in a draw.
With the goalless draw, Lajong leapfrog Mohun Bagan to the fourth spot with 11 points and Chennai City topple Indian Arrows to the eighth spot with as many points.
The Highlanders will now host Indian Arrows next Monday (January 8, 2018) and the Southerners will host Neroca FC next day.