Shillong Lajong won the battle against FC Pune City by coming back strongly scoring 3 goals and got qualified for the next round of inaugural Super Cup at Bhubaneswar yesterday. It was Pune who were in the driving seat at first scoring two wonder goals via Brazilians Marcelinho and Jonatan Lucca. Nigerian Odafin gave a through ball into the box for Koffi, who scored the first for the Northeast Club.
Later in the second half Rakesh Pradhan scored past Vishal Kaith to make it 2-2. At the dying moments of the game Abdoulaye Koffi was brought down by Pune keeper Vishal Kaith and the referee gave a penalty which was well converted by skipper Samuel to make it 3-2 and seal the match. Marcelinho was shown red and sent off during the injury time. Shillong Lajong will face known opponents from I-League in the form of Mohun Bagan in quarter-final.
Let’s take a look at the five talking points of this contest.
● SHILLONG’S STRONG COMEBACK:
Shillong Lajong were two goals down at the first half with a stunning set piece from Lucca and Marcelinho’s goal and Pune was literally running riot in the Lajong defence. It was Nigerian midfielder Odafin who gave the ball to his striker Koffi netted it to make it 1-2 against the run of play. FC Pune City were troubling Shillong Lajong’s defense with Marcelinho and Diego Carlos attacking up front while on the other hand Lajong was struggling to keep the possession.
Samuela was once again the boss at the midfield for his side who was the emerging player of the concluded I-League season. Rakesh Pradhan who linked up well up front scored the goal past former Shillong Lajong shot-stopper to make it 2-2. Koffi won his side a penalty after Vishal Kaith’s tackle on Koffi inside the box. Samuela scored the penalty in style to take his side to the next round of the competitions.
● NIDHIN LAL STOOD TALL FOR LAJONG:
Shillong’s shot-stopper Nidhin Lal was brilliant and one of the key players for the Lajong’s win against FC Pune City. Nidhin Lal was beaten by Jonatan Lucca and Marcelinho in the first half by two brilliant strikes but after that Pune players couldn’t score past him. FC Pune City’s Ashique had three open goal opportunities which was missed completely by him. Diego Carlos made a brilliant attempt from outside of the box but it was well stopped by Nidhin Lal who deflectec it away with his strong fist. The goalie from Kerala made only 3 appearances for his side in the I-League after Lachenpa got injured and since then have earned the faith of his coach.
● LAURENCE DOE AND JUHO OH’S SOLID PRESENCE AT THE BACK:
FC Pune City were attacking right from the start and the Shillong defenders were kept busy by Marcelinho and Diego Carlos. It was Doe and Juho, who were solid at the back for their side making some crucial clearances. Juho Oh was good at the back making it difficult for the Brazilian to shoot. Laurence Doe was also another key player for the Meghalayan outfut in their I-League campaign who picked up injury during the middle of the season. Novin Gurung was also quite good at the back making some important tackles stopping Pune’s counter attacks. Rakesh Pradhan, one of the goal scorers today was good at both defending and attacking. He showed some good promise as a wing back during the I-League linking up with attackers well. But it was Laurence Doe and Juho Oh who made it sure that Lajong don’t concede any more goal after the initial two, and they managed to do that with merit with the help of their goalie.
●SAMBA MAGIC AT KALINGA WENT IN VAIN:
Brazilians were on top for Ranko Popović’s side as they got the lead through two brilliant strikes from Marcelinho and Lucca. It was Lucca who got the first opportunity from the set-piece and scored a brilliant goal beating the shot-stopper from Kerala. Lucca also scored a similar goal from set-piece during the ISL semifinal against Bengaluru FC. Marcelinho and Diego Carlos were threatening Shillong Lajong by their pace and skills and Marcelinho scored a brilliant goal to make it 0-2 at the first half. Diego Carlos was booked at the first half who was deadly at the flanks with some dangerous balls into the box. Marcelinho couldn’t make it double as Oh was marking him during second half and was also sent off after receiving a second yellow during the injury time.
●SAMUEL LALMUANPUIA- THE HERO ONCE AGAIN:
The 19-year-old lad from Mizoram was once again the hero for his club after scoring the winning goal from the penalty spot. Samuela was good throughout the game creating some wonderful opportunities for his side. The skipper had many clear chances of scoring a goal but he never went for the shot instead kept on creating opportunities for his fellow players. It is the youngest side in the whole tourney with an average age of 20 lead by a teenager who was instrumental in overcoming one of the toughest sides from ISL. Samuela was also good during I-League leading his side scoring 3 goals in the competition thus attracting many suitors. Not only with goals but Samuela contributed with his 5 assists during the I-League campaign and he kept his momentum intact in the Super Cup also as he converted the crucial spot-kick at the dying moments of the match keeping his nerves calm and securing his side’s berth in the last of the competition.
○FC PUNE CITY:
Gurtej Singh-6, Sarthak Goloui-5, Oritz-6, Sahil Panwar-5,
Marko Stankovic-6, Isaac-5, Jonatan Lucca-6,
Ashique-5, Diego Carlos-6, Marcelinho-7.
SUBSTITUTES: Chesterpoul Lyngdoh- 5, Rohit Kumar-5.
Rakesh Pradhan-6, Khongsit-5, Novin Gurung-6, Juho oh-6,
Daniel Odafin-6, Sheen-5, Redeem Tlang-5,
Samuel Lalmuanpuia-7, Koffi-6.
SUBSTITUTES: Alen Deory- N/A