A return to home soil brought a return to form for Shillong Lajong FC as they beat newbies Namdhari FC 3-0 at First Ground, Polo, here today, ending a run of two successive defeats.
Senegal’s Abdou Karim Samb (27′) and Brazilian Renan Paulino (54′) struck in each half before local lad Kenstar Kharsong (90’+9) wrapped it up a minute after coming on as a substitute with an injury-time goal for the Reds, who ended a memorable year in the best possible way in front of their passionate fans.
Coach Bobby Lyngdoh Nongbet made a string of changes, bringing in Neithovilie Chalieu in goal for Bishal Lama, Allen Lyngdoh Nongbri for Saveme Tariang, Pursunep for Figo Syndai and Wadajied Kynsai Ryngkhlem for Shano Tariang.
Lajong have twice played I-League matches on 23rd December before and lost both – in 2018 to Mohun Bagan and 2017 to NEROCA.
With the win, Lajong have climbed back to fifth place with 19 points. Namdhari, meanwhile, remain in 11th place with 8.
There will be a break in the I-League now as the focus shifts to the Super Cup, which will be held in Bhubaneswar next month. As the second-highest ranked I-League participant, Lajong will be in Group B alongside Kerala Blasters FC, NorthEast United FC and Jamshedpur FC from the Indian Super League as per the group stage draw conducted earlier this week.