Shillong Lajong held Gokulam Kerala FC to a 1-1 stalemate in their final home fixture of the ongoing Hero I-League at the JLN Stadium in Shillong tonight. Following the result, Lajong are still stranded at the bottom of the table with 11 points from 18 matches whereas Gokulam have accumulated 14 having played one game fewer.
Gokulam Kerala FC drew the first blood through a stellar finish from Marcus Joseph in the 43rd minute before Samuel Lalmuanpia restored the parity for the hosts in the 65th minute. Mahesh Singh Naorem was adjudged the Hero of the match.
Shillong Lajon FC started the game with two changes, goalkeeper Phurba Lachenpa had to be rested due to his injury from the last game against Chennai City FC and he was replaced by Neinthovilie Chalieu while Kynsailang Kharsong was replaced by Rakesh Pradhan.
Gokulam Kerala FC, on the other hand, tweaked their team with four changes from the last match. Abhishek Das, Felipe De Castro, Arjun Jayaraj and Pritam Singh found their places in the starting eleven replacing Deepak Kumar, Ralph Alfred, Suhair VP and L Haunhar.
Gokulam began on an attacking note and the combination of Felipe De Castro along with Marcus Joseph kept on pressing hard making attempts in short intervals. Full credit to Shillong’s defence line, which otherwise isn’t known to be the best in the business, ensured that the visitors do not get any clear chance to take an early lead in the game.
Shillong, on the other hand, tried to attack through Mahesh Singh and Kitboklang Pale but were unable to create any threatening moment for the visitors. The lion’s share of the possession, however, belonged to Gokulam Kerala FC as they were mostly dictating the game from the midfield.
Gokulam’s efforts finally paid dividends when a wonderful cross from Arun Jayaraj to Marcus Joseph saw the latter finding the back of the net through an exquisite finish in the 43rd minute. This gave Gokulam Kerala FC a much needed 1-0 lead at the halfway mark.
The second half began with Gokulam Kerala FC pressing hard but an alert Shillong Lajong defence ensured the visitors do not get another chance to double their lead. Shillong Lajong FC continued their attacks on the counter but they finally got the reward when Mahesh was brought down by Daniel Addo inside the box having earned a spot-kick after the hour-mark.
Samuel Lalmuanpuia, thereafter, made no mistake in finding the much-needed equalizer for the red devils in the 65th minute. The game thereafter saw Shillong Lajong making a few attempts but were unable to find the breakthrough to win all three points to come out of the relegation zone.
What would hurt Gokulam Kerala most is the marching orders of the Brazilian Midfielder Felipe Castro’s marching orders in the 81st minute. Gokulam Kerala FC still tried hard to breach the Lajong defence with 10 men but the young Reds stood tall to deny the visitors any further opportunity to score.
Full-time: Shillong Lajong 0-1 Gokulam Kerala
84: Yellow card F Lalrohlua
81: Red card Guilherme Felipe de Castro
80: Yellow card Guilherme Felipe de Castro
71: Substitution Pritam Singh OFF Suhair VP IN
67: Substitution Imran Khan OFF Lalmuankima Haunhar IN
65: Penalty Goal Samuel Lalmuanpuia
63: Yellow card Daniel Addo
49: Substitution Nabin Rabha OFF Sheen Sohktung IN
46: Substitution Phrangki Buam OFF Samuel Lalmuanpuia IN
46: Second half kick-off
Half-time: Shillong Lajong 0-1 Gokulam Kerala
43: Goal! Marcus Joseph scores for Gokulam
26: Yellow card Imran Khan
1: First half kick-off
Gokulam subs: Suhair V P, Mohammad Rashid.k, Wungngayam Muirang, Monotosh Chakladar, RusselRalphAlfred, Lalmuankima H, Shibinraj Kunniyil.
Gokulam Kerala line-up: Arnab Das Sharma, Abhishek Das, Mehtab Singh, Daniel Addo, Mohamed Irshad; Fabien Vorbe, Felipe De Castro; Pritam Singh, Arjun Jayaraj, Imran Khan, Marcus Joseph.
Lajong subs: Kynsailang Khongsit, Sheen Stevenson Sohktung, Samuel Lalmuanpuia, Freestar Kharbangar, Allen C Lyngdoh Nongbri, Donboklang Lyngdoh, Bishal Lama.