SPL 2023: Mawlai steamroll Nangkiew Irat to take 2nd place

Shillong, May 4: Defending champions Mawlai SC ended the round-robin stage of the Shillong Premier League 2023 in second place following a whopping 6-1 victory over Nangkiew Irat SC at the SSA Stadium at First Ground, Polo, here Saturday.
Felix Lalruatsanga (7’) gave Nangkiew Irat an early lead but it was one-way traffic after that with goals for Mawlai by Fullmoon Mukhim (29’P), Romarius Laban (36’), Kevin Rymbai (65’), Donlad Diengdoh (68’), Pynbha Suting (73’) and Mark G Shabong (87’).
This was the last match of the league stage of the tournament, with Mawlai ending with 16 points, just behind Rangdajied United FC’s 18. Shillong Lajong FC and Langsning FC follow in third and fourth positions on 15 points each, with Lajong in front based on head-to-head.
The eagerly awaited semifinals will now follow next week. Rangdajied will meet Lajong in the first knockout fixture on 7 May before Mawlai face Langsning in the second semi on 8 May. Both matches will begin at 3:15pm and be held at the SSA Stadium.
Nangkiew Irat stunned the opposition when the defence did not deal with a chipped ball forwards, opening up the way for Felix to score low past Mawlai goalkeeper Lambhamiki Lamare.
However, Nangkiew Irat are the least prolific scorers in SPL 2023 – they have averaged just one goal per game and this continued on Sa.
They were not too happy when Mawlai were awarded a penalty when Abhishek Verma was adjudged to have cut down Reformer Pale in the box. Fullmoon, wearing the captain’s armband today, stepped up to take the shot and aimed it past Shambu Mistry, with the goalkeeper guessing the correct way but he was nowhere near the ball.
The big man made two excellent saves in the 33rd minute to deny Donlad but the defence was poor from that point on, letting Mawlai get behind them with ease.
Romarius tapped in a cross from the right flank in the 36th minute after his team had missed two similar opportunities in the few minutes before that.
That left Mawlai leading 2-1 and the scoreline remained that way until 20 minutes into the second half when a defensive mistake allowed Kevin to slot in for Mawlai’s third goal of the day.
Three minutes later the ball was given away to Baiaikara Swer and he laid it on for Donlad to take a running shot to make it 4-1. And just five minutes after that, Pynbha Suting, who had just come on as a substitute a short while before, took a left-footer out of the blue that came in off the woodwork to increase Nangkiew Irat’s misery.
The final nail in the coffin saw Shambu guilty of a hopeless giveaway minutes from the final whistle and that allowed Mark, another substitute, to score.
Nangkiew Irat thus ended a terrible season dead last in the standings with just 3 points from a win against Sawmer SC. They are tied with Nongthymmai SC on points but the latter have a head-to-head advantage.
Given the short amount of time available to hold the SPL this season and the subsequent reduction to a single-leg format, it was decided before the league began that there would be no relegation this year, which would be a relief for Nongthymmai and Nangkiew Irat as they will have an opportunity to come back stronger when SPL 2024 begins in a few months.

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