The AIFF development side have done the double against Shillong Lajong this season.
The spirited Indian Arrows brushed aside a lacklustre Shillong Lajong side 0-3 in an I-League fixture on Sunday afternoon. Floyd Pinto’s boys were on the charge right from kick-off and their constant efforts bore fruit in the 18th minute, when Vikram Pratap Singh handed a much-needed lead to the away side.
The Arrows kept up their flamboyant approach and threatened the Lajong defence, as the likes of Lalengmawia and Ninthoiganba Meetei scored and piled the misery on their counterparts. Here are the talking points from the game:
5. Did Alison Kharsyntiew miss a trick by not starting Phrangki Buam?
Alison surprisingly started the match without Lajong’s top scorer Phrangki Buam. It came as a shocker because the youngster has found the net time and again. Despite the flurry of shambolic results, he has been their shining light upfront. It was supposed to be a tight fixture against the young Indian Arrows, where they would fancy themselves to get a result.
However, the Lajong tactician started with Sheen Stevenson and Kitboklang Pale upfront. Both the forwards hardly had any impact on the game and did not cause much trouble for the Arrows defenders. With Buam’s introduction in the second half, the game opened up a lot for Lajong as the young forward was looking to run in behind the defenders and cause trouble with his off the ball movements. He may have played a crucial part in the clash had he started.
4. Has Rohit Danu cemented his place in the starting lineup?
Pinto prefers to start Aniket Jadhav alongside Rahul Praveen and Vikram Pratap Singh. However, with Aniket suspended for this fixture, in came Rohit Danu. The youngster has already made his mark in the league, becoming the youngest goalscorer in I-League history.
Danu’s presence added the extra spark in the Arrows’ attack, as he showed a great sense of understanding with his fellow forwards. His intricate passing and blistering pace make him a threatening figure in the final third. With Aniket Jadhav failing to capitalize on the numerous chances he was given, it is about time that Pinto gives Danu the playing time he deserves. He is very young and pretty raw, but he certainly seems like more of a threat than his fellow forwards.
3. Did this young Shillong Lajong side need a more experienced coach?
Lajong boast one of the best youth academies in the country and they needed proper guidance, a leader who can marshal them and nurture their qualities. Instead, the team management went with a young and inexperienced coach in Alison Kharsyntiew. Leaving a bunch of young talented players under a manager who himself is not that settled, wasn’t a wise choice. The players needed a more experienced coach who could manage the boys and bring the best out of them.
Alison seems to have lost the plot completely after suffering a flurry of defeats. The results are also having an adverse effect on the players, who seem low on self-esteem and are not being able to produce their best on the field. The team definitely needed a more experienced leader who could handle the pressure of playing in the top flight.
2. Is Vikram Pratap Singh more suited to a #10 role?
Vikram Pratap Singh has been one of the rare shining lights for the Arrows upfront. Coach Pinto has mostly preferred to play him on the right flank, in order to use his lightning pace in counter-attacks. But, playing against Lajong, Pinto changed his lineup a little and allowed the forward to play in the #10 role. He had an amazing understanding with Rohit Danu, as the pair caused a lot of problems for a lacklustre Lajong defence. He thoroughly enjoyed the free role as he kept on pressurizing the Arrows’ backline throughout the game.
Vikram even scored a goal with a beautiful cross from Asish Rai on the right flank to double the lead for the Arrows.
1. Was Indian Arrows’ ability to restrict Samuel Lalmuanpuia’s influence the bedrock of their victory?
Samuela is a player who likes to exploit space in the final third and with his exquisite passing, he tends to find teammates in goalscoring positions. He also has the knack of scoring goals from set-pieces. The young midfielder has often caused problems even for the best teams in the league.
However, he was way too silent throughout the game and the credit goes to the Arrows’ midfield and their collective pressing. They did not allow Samuela much time on the ball and closed him down in numbers. To add to that, Alison played him on the left flank which made it a lot easier for the Arrows to single him out. He is way too effective as a playmaker and playing him on the flanks is simply a waste of his ability, as he did not have that much of an impact on the game.