Shillong Premier League 2023: Rangdajied hang on for victory against resurgent Sawmer

Shillong, Mar 26: Rangdajied United FC had some scary moments but held off Sawmer SC for a thrilling 3-2 victory in the Shillong Premier League 2023 at the SSA Stadium in Polo here on Tuesday.

From looking utterly dominant with a 2-0 lead in under half an hour thanks to Enestar Malngiang (11’) and Ieitlang Syiemlieh (24’), Rangdajied were a shadow of themselves in the second half and saw Sawmer equalise with a brace by Max Austin Wanswett (55’, 64’). However, the 2022 runners-up came out on top thanks to a Stephan Pale winner in the 82nd minute.
Heavy rain before the game meant that players had to use all their experience to negotiate a few wet patches, especially on the south side of the pitch. Sawmer’s side of the ground in the first half was drier. It was slightly easier for Rangdajied to attack.
Captain Enestar placed the first goal neatly out of reach of Sawmer goalkeeper Pyrshangbanbha Dkhar. Ieitlang’s strike a few minutes later was even more impressive as he had to thread the needle but delivered his shot just inside the post and once again out of reach of Pyrshangbanbha.
There was one good scoring opportunity for Sawmer in the first half via a free-kick that a desperate RUFC managed to clear quickly.
However, Sawmer owned most of the second half, with Max Austin unleashing a screamer from 20 yards away that found the mark 10 minutes into the action.
He had another chance soon after as Sawmer counterattacked following a Rangdajied corner but this time goalie Banshanskhem Kharsyntiew and Diego Khriam blocked him could not capitalise on the rebound.
Sawmer were not to be denied the equaliser, however, as Max Austin, now on the right flank, battled Balamlynti Khongjee for a long ball and won the fight. Banshanskhem raced off his mark to try and cut off the angles but Max Austin still found a way past him by scoring at the far post.
Rangdajied were a little shaken at the back after the second goal and that gave Sawmer even more opportunities than they otherwise would have had but they were unable to take the lead.
Against the run of play, substitute Stephan converted a chance after the ball was put into the box and Sawmer failed to deal with it and that goal proved to be the winner. Sawmer never really looked like scoring again as the momentum they had ridden at the start of the second half was gone.
At the final whistle, Rangdajied were able to celebrate their second successive victory (their first was 1-0 against Nongthymmai SC last week) and they have a maximum 6 points from two outings, though they will be mindful that they have not been on top of their game in either. Sawmer, who were beaten 2-1 by Nangkiew Irat SC in the first round, will take heart from this performance but there is no denying that they have lost both of their first two SPL 2023 matches and have 0 points on the board.
Tuesday will witness Ryntih SC go up against four-time champions Shillong Lajong FC at 3 pm.


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