Shillong(Meghalaya), Aug 18: For the second time this season, Nangkiew Irat SC came from two goals down to draw 2-2, this time against leaders Mawlai SC in their OC Blue Shillong Premier League 2021-22 match at Third Ground, Polo, here today.
Donlad Diengdoh opened Mawlai’s account in the eighth minute while Manbha Iawphniaw converted a penalty in the 37th. Shaibor Nongrum (63’) then scored for Nangkiew before an own goal in the 86th minute equalised proceedings. This is the second time that Nangkiew Irat have overcome a 2-0 deficit at half time to draw 2-2, after having done so against Ryntih SC on 26 July.
The game was originally scheduled for 4 August but had to be postponed due to heavy rain on the day.
These two sides opened the current season of the OC Blue SPL back on 15 June in a game that ended in Mawlai’s favour 2-0. Coming into today’s fixture, league leaders Mawlai had 22 points from eight games, while sixth-placed Nangkiew Irat had 9. There was no movement in the table as a result of the draw.
In a match of contrasting halves, Mawlai were clearly the dominant side in the first 45 minutes but appeared uncharacteristically sluggish in the second. This is only the second time in nine games that the table toppers have failed to win.
The contest began disastrously for Nangkiew Irat, after goalkeeper Bobbyson Nongtdu fouled an opponent in the box in only the second minute after failing to deal with a back pass. However, Brolington Warlarpih’s spot kick was saved by the custodian, who punched it strongly away from danger.
Minutes later, though, Mawlai were not to be denied, with Diengdoh scoring off a rebound after Iawphniaw’s first shot was blocked by Nongtdu.
Iawphniaw would then go on to score after Mawlai earned a second penalty; he was toppled over in the box by Overkindness Lyngdoh Mawnai and stepped up to take the shot himself, which he put away with ease low to the right of Nongtdu, who guessed the wrong way. This goal put Iawphniaw on 7 for the season, joint highest with Langsning’s Shano Tariang.
Nangkiew Irat had a couple of openings in the first half but only through free-kicks. Though they were both on target, Mawlai goalie Neithovilie Chalieu had them both covered.
The second half was different, with Nangkiew Irat taking the attack to Mawlai. Ten minutes in, Chanmitre Thma almost had their first goal but Chalieu palmed the left-footer over the crossbar.
However, Chalieu later gathered what the referee judged to have been a back pass, though Mawlai contested this. That led to an indirect free-kick from the six-yard box, which Nangkiew Irat deliberately smashed into the wall, allowing Nongrum to score from the rebound.
That was enough to lift Nangkiew’s spirits and they kept coming at their opponents. Chalieu conceded a second indirect free-kick in the 80th minute when he held on to a ball for too long but this time Nangkiew Irat’s tactics (different from their first attempt) did not bear fruit.
Instead, the equaliser came about after Apborlang Kurbah hoicked the ball from the sideline into the Mawlai box. Nongrum’s shot was blocked but the ball then came off a Mawlai defender and went into the back of the net.
Tomorrow, bottom side Mawkhar SC (2 points) will take on third-placed Rangdajied United FC (15) at 4pm. The two teams had played out a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture on 18 June.
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