Shillong Lajong FC lost 1-0 to Inter Kashi as the I-League 2023-24 ended its break at First Ground, Polo, here today.
This was Lajong’s fourth loss in as many matches, if you include the three in the Super Cup.
This was also the first I-League match of the new year, as the competition had been on hiatus since the end of December to accommodate the Super Cup. Other firsts include this being the maiden match at this ground under the new floodlights as well as being the first meeting between the two clubs.
The hosts dominated possession, had more attempts on goal and more corners but failed to take advantage of any of these.
Julen Perez Del Pino showed his playmaking skills and turned provider when he lobbed a ball over the Lajong defence for Gianni Miguel Dos Santos. The Dutch forward beat his marker Ronney Kharbudon to make a timely run into the box where he spun round to shoot the right-footed volley past Lajong goalkeeper Neithovilie Chalieu in the 23rd minute.
The visitors’ experienced goalie, Arindam Bhattacharya denied Figo Syndai twice during the match and Lajong were also unlucky when a second half attempt by new signing Marcos Genar Silva hit the crossbar.
SLFC could have moved to second place in the standings had they won this match but, as it happens, they remain in fifth place with 19 points. Inter Kashi, meanwhile, jumped to sixth from ninth with 18. However, both sides have played more matches than anyone else now.
Lajong’s next match will be on February 12 when they travel to Gokulam Kerala.