SPL 2023: Mawlai sink Langsning in gripping semifinal

Shillong, May 8: Defending champions Mawlai SC were involved in a gripping Shillong Premier League 2023 semifinal, which they won 2-1 over Langsning FC at the SSA Stadium at First Ground, Polo, on Wednesday.
Mawlai will thus meet Rangdajied United FC in the final on Saturday. Rangdajied had beaten Shillong Lajong FC 1-0 in the first semifinal on Tuesday.
Wednesday’s contest was of an altogether different level of intensity, with end-to-end action that kept the huge crowd of fans entertained throughout. All three goals came in the second half, with Robert Khongriah (50’) scoring first for Mawlai, Chanmitre Thma (57’) equalising soon after before the winner was provided by Kevin Rymbai (68’).
When these two sides met in the round robin stage, Mawlai were 1-0 winners. However, Langsning had a slow start to the season and only picked up following that defeat, winning all five matches after that.
They made their intentions known early on today, with a fine through ball for Nelson Rymbai just 30 seconds into the game but he could not get round goalkeeper Siwel Rymbai, who came off his line to cut him off.
Nelson was in the thick of the action in the first half, with a shot of his bursting through Siwel’s gloves soon after but luckily for Mawlai it went out for a corner, following which the Langsning No. 10 struck the crossbar.
Sheen Sohktung also hit the woodwork for Langsning and Damanbhalang Chyne was blocked by a defender after possibly taking one touch too many before his attempt on goal.
Those missed opportunities would be rued greatly by Langsning fans, as Robert made them pay early in the second half.
He glided into the box but his first shot was straight to keeper Surjay Kumar Pariyar. The Langsning gloveman punched it up in the air and straight back to Robert, though, allowing the Mawlai player to have another go and this time he scored.
The lead only lasted seven minutes, however, as Chanmitre lobbed the ball from the distance into an open Mawlai goal. This was after Siwel had come to the edge of the box to deal with a Langsning attack but the ball only went as far as Chanmitre, who bagged his first goal of the season.
Although the equaliser gave Langsning impetus, they were unable to get their noses out in front.
Minutes after team mate Fairming Suting went wide, Kevin scored the winner. Romarius Laban laid the ball on for Mawlai’s talented No. 7 and he fired in a low rocket against his old club.
The last 10 minutes of the match were extremely hectic, with no let-up in intensity. Siwel pulled off a brilliant reaction save to deny a header from Ambilstar Sun. Dauruhipaia Pale then had a moment where he could have been the Langsning hero but he placed a cross high over the bar. At the other end, Romarius, who performed well throughout, was denied by Surjay.
Another corner for Langsning then saw Siwel spill the ball but he somehow managed to recover to collect the subsequent header from Chanmitre.
It was a match that had it all but which was also played in the right spirit – just one yellow card was shown. It could have easily been a final, such was the high quality of play and should be remembered for years to come.
The focus will now turn to Saturday’s final between Rangdajied, who finished second last year, and defending champions Mawlai. The match will kick-off at the slightly earlier time of 3 pm.


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