Shillong (Meghalaya), Aug 3: A very even match between Shillong Lajong FC and Rangdajied United FC ended 0-0 in the OC Blue Shillong Premier League 2021-22 at Third Ground, Polo, here today.
This was the opening game of the second leg and first of Round 8. In the reverse fixture, Rangdajied had defeated Lajong 2-0 on 18 July.
Before today, Rangdajied were in third place on 11 points and defending champions Lajong sixth on 7. They both remain where they are in the standings after this draw, which was the eighth of the season.
Rangdajied missed key players today, such as Chesterpaul Lyngdoh and Samuel Shadap, who were left out entirely, and Donboklang Lyngdoh, who was used as a second half substitute. Rangdajied have scored the fewest goals (8) of any of the top five teams and Donboklang has accounted for exactly half of these, so his absence meant that others would have to be relied on to score but the chances were few and far between.
Lajong, meanwhile, tried something new with the tall Everbrightson Mylliempdah pushed forward in a more attacking role and there were times that the defending champs did look threatening but the youngsters were unable to add to their measly tally of four goals this season.
On the other hand, this was SLFC’s second consecutive clean sheet and, given the way their campaign has gone so far, they would probably have been the happier of the two clubs with a draw.
The closest they came to scoring was when K Lalfakzuala headed a Sangti Janai Shianglong free-kick just wide in the second half. Shianglong also had a couple of attempts in both halves but nothing to trouble Rangdajied goalkeeper Banshanlang Sten.
For RUFC, Knerktilang Buam fired over in the 15th minute before Raikutshisha Buam was denied by Lajong custodian Wanteilang Malngiang.
Rangdajied’s chances flowed late in the game, with substitute Donboklang involved in each – he was agonisingly close in the 89th minute when a sensational shot from the corner of the box crashed into the upright.
Tomorrow league leaders Mawlai SC (19 points) will be up against fifth-placed Nangkiew Irat SC (9 points) at 4pm.