This fixture is to the football fans of Shillong what Liverpool and Manchester United is to the English fans and Madrid derby is to the Spanish fans…
Two years ago the two teams played out what was the first ever all North East/Shillong derby in the I-League. Though Wahingdoh now plays in a lower league, the healthy rivalry between the two teams to be the best in Shillong has pushed both the teams to be at their best over the years. The match was what the fixture was all about; passion, dedication and the drive to better the other team. The only thing missing however from the fiery encounter was a goal as both teams failed to score.
The game started in high tempo with both the teams fired up right from the first minute. It was fiery encounter as tackles went flying in and players confronted with each other.
It was Lajong who came close to breaking the deadlock in the 22nd minute when Bipin Singh’s cross from the left wing found Redeem Tlang alone with a huge pocket of space in the opposition’s box. Redeem however wasted what could have been a simple tap in as his shot went well wide. Wahingdoh on the other hand tested the 16 year old Lajong goalkeeper as they lined up free kicks and shots form long distance but the lad from Nagaland stood resolute.
The Wahingdoh players had their hearts in their throat when Dorjee’s attempt in the 36th minute beat the goalkeeper but thanks to defender Bowari Khongsta who cleared the ball from the goal line. Samuela’s follow up shot had much power but could only find the side netting. Lajong continued to miss thier chances as Redeem Tlang once again missed a free header resulting from a corner. At half time Wahingdoh were lucky not to find themselves behind while Lajong kicked themselves for not converting their chances.
The second half started like the first half with both the teams looking to break down the opposition’s defence; both teams well aware that breaking the deadlock would break the opposition. Wahingdoh’s defender Vinici Darlong missed a good opportunity early in the second half as he headed the ball well over the crossbar. Lajong then came close to scoring when a brilliant exchange of pass between Samuela and Milan found the latter in the Wahingdoh box who then took a brilliant first touch and teed himself up for a shot from a tight angle. Milan however couldn’t get the curl he was looking for and his shot went just inches wide off the far post. Young striker Samuela’s frustrating evening continued as his shot from close range found the side netting for the second time in the match.
Then, like all titanic football matches; the game that had seen a lot yellow finally saw a red card. The red card however was for a foolish reason as Isaac who came on in half time for Lajong was given the marching orders by the referee and that too, comically for confronting the referee himself over a foul which the referee gave a free kick and Isaac claimed, was a penalty. The free kick came to nothing and Wahingdoh was able to clear.
Though Lajong were a man down in the last 10 minutes or so of the game, they always looked more like the team that would score but couldn’t find the goal that would give them the win. At the end of the match, it was Lajong who were left ruing their missed opportunities as the match ended in a draw.
Tomorrow’s Fixture: Malki SC versus Nongkrem S&CC
Report by Khel Now Correspondent Worngachan Shatsang from Shillong . Shatsang loves to write and click pictures .