Shillong(Meghalaya), Sep 14:: Malki SC pulled off another upset, coming from behind to beat Nangkiew Irat SC 3-1 in the 49th match of the OC Blue Shillong Premier League 2021-22 season at Third Ground, Polo, here today.
Damehun Syih (17’) gave Nangkiew Irat the lead before Emboklang Nongkhlaw (18’), Sanborlang Marwein (37’) and Marchsterfield Marbaniang (73’) earned Malki the win.
Coming into today’s fixture, fifth-placed Nangkiew Irat had 16 points and seventh-placed Malki just 7. The two sides had met in the first leg on 19 July where Nangkiew were 3-1 victors.
The opening goal came about for Nangkiew Irat after a diagonal ball picked out Syih on the left. He was helped when, tracking back, Malki’s Lucas Syngkli lost his balance and that gave Syih free access into the box where he placed the ball low past Malki reserve goalkeeper Iostar Thabah.
Nangkiew do not score many first half goals (this was only their fifth all season), so perhaps the ease in which they took the lead made them rest on their laurels a little because Malki netted the equaliser immediately.
It was through the young Nongkhlaw, who sauntered up the left flank, that the goal was found, with the No. 10 given plenty of space to move up the pitch. He then spotted that Nangkiew goalie Guidle Syiemlieh was a little off his line and curled the ball up and over the custodian for his maiden goal of the season, which also made him the 70th different person to score this year.
Nangkiew then had a goal disallowed for offside before Marwein took the lead for Malki. He timed his run brilliantly for a through ball and put it past the charging Syiemlieh from the edge of the box.
Nangkiew Irat’s defence was a little guilty of ball watching and they were left standing still by Marwein’s run. The club, who are safe from relegation, were also a little sub-par in terms of passing, clearances and attempts to score and this cost them a chance to take fourth place from Ryntih SC.
Syiemlieh also did not have a great time in goal against his former side, with a couple of comical mistakes almost leading to more goals for Malki but he did put in a good save to deny Nongkhlaw a second goal in the 70th minute.
Malki were not to be denied a few minutes later, though, with a strong Nikle Ryntathiang cross from the left going across the face of goal, beating defenders and the keeper, before being tapped in by Marbaniang at the far post.
Five minutes later there was some ragged defending by Nangkiew Irat but they just managed to hoick the ball up the pitch. Chanmitre Thma then had a golden chance to pull a goal back for his team but his attempt ended up going over the crossbar.
In stoppage time Shaibor Nongrum tested Thabah, who punched the danger away; the goalkeeper was not brimming with confidence but coach Amit Rai’s gamble to pick him today proved to be the right one as he delivered on the trust shown in him.
To make this a game they would really rather forget, Nangkiew finished with 10 men on the pitch after Sunevening Iawphniaw, who was the recipient of a rough foul, lashed out at the offending Malki player and was given a red card.
Today’s was the second big win for Malki, after having shocked fourth-placed Ryntih 4-2 last month. However, they remain in seventh place, now with 10 points, and their fate could be decided tomorrow – if Shillong Lajong FC (11 points) defeat bottom side Mawkhar SC (6) then Malki will end the season in the relegation zone. The Lajong-Mawkhar reverse fixture had gone in favour of SLFC 2-1 on 11 July. Anything less than a win tomorrow will also be curtains for Mawkhar.