Shillong Premier League 2023: Lajong forced to come back twice to trounce Nongthymmai

Shillong, Apr 9: The weather was dry but it rained goals once again in the Shillong Premier League 2023 on Tuesday, with Shillong Lajong FC coming from behind twice to finally beat Nongthymmai SC 6-3 at the SSA Stadium at First Ground, Polo.

Deibormame Tongper (26’, 42’, 60’) demonstrated yet again why he is one of the most exciting players to emerge out of this season’s SPL as he produced a hat-trick, while there was also a brace for Babysunday Marngar (51’, 90’+2) and one goal for substitute Shano Tariang (61’).


Nongthymmai started the stronger side, though, and quickly claimed a two-goal lead through Robi Hansda (11’) and Nitesh Hazra (19’). Even after Lajong were able to bring the scores level back to 2-2 by the end of the first half, Nongthymmai retook the lead again via Samborlang Nongbsap (46’) but the match went against them spectacularly after that.

The victory and the three-goal margin means that SLFC have retaken the lead in the standings. Although they are tied with Rangdajied United FC on 9 points each after three games and also have the exact same goal difference (+6), Lajong have scored more goals (12 to 8) and are thus in provisional first place. Nongthymmai, on the other hand, remain in the bottom half of the table on 3 points from four matches.

Deibormame, who now has six goals to his name and is the season’s top scorer, made his intentions known from the outset as a sharp header from him in only the fifth minute was saved by Nongthymmai goalkeeper Senapati Mandal, whose equally sharp save saw him palm the ball onto the crossbar.

Things went south for Lajong after that, however. Their defence has been the one weak spot and they have yet to keep a single clean sheet despite the three wins.

A swift counterattack saw Nongthymmai’s Robi race from his own half to meet a long ball. Only one defender was able to track back but the Nongthymmai player threaded the ball through him and the goalkeeper for the opening goal.

Lajong would go wide with two more attempts but there was no mistake for Nongthymmai at the other end. Omega forced Lajong goalie Haokip into a diving save in the 19th minute and the resulting corner saw Nitesh head the ball in at the far post.

SLFC finally pulled a goal back through Deibormame’s first, which was a scorching left-footer that Senapati was able to do little about as he may have been blinded by players in front of him.

Momentum swung the Reds’ way and they had three chances in one move in the 41st minute but some hectic defending kept Nongthymmai safe. Still, it appeared as if it was only a matter of time before they conceded again and it only took another minute for Lajong to draw level with Deibormame scoring off a cross from close range for what was the 50th goal of the season across all matches.

The No. 33 would then go on to miss a clear chance before the half time whistle but there was plenty to be seen from him in the second session.

Before he delivered more of his magic, Nongthymmai took the lead once again in a surprising start to the second half. Twenty seconds in Robi missed a golden opportunity and, only a few seconds later, Nongthymmai would be attacking once again and this time there was no mistake from Samborlang, who made it 3-2 as Lajong looked a little slow at the restart.

However, the match was all one way traffic from that point on as Nongthymmai were unable to hold on, with the defence opening up disastrously.

Timing their runs brilliantly, Lajong punched holes in the back line of the opposition almost at will, with Babysunday springing the equaliser. Four minutes later, Deibormame hit the crossbar but he found the back of the net for his treble on the hour mark with a neat low left-footer.

A minute later, Deibormame turned provider with Shano taking the ball and the defenders on to score on the run.

The stunning turnaround was sealed in stoppage time with Babysunday making a break and scoring as the Nongthymmai defence pressed high.

This was the second time in four games that nine goals have been scored in a single outing. The last saw Mawlai SC drub Sawmer SC 7-2 and Sawmer will be back in action tomorrow as they take on Langsning FC at 3pm.

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