Shillong Lajong won the 2019 Shillong Premier League – their first since 2016. Rangdajied United, who remained unbeaten all season, came in second. Laban and Nongrim Hills were relegated to the First Division.
Lajong secure fourth league title in style
Shillong Lajong FC secured their fourth Shillong Premier League trophy after a 4-0 victory over Ryntih 4-0.
With a three-point lead over rivals Rangdajied United, Lajong required at least a draw to seal the title. Their opponents, Ryntih, were aiming to leapfrog Rangdajied United to second place.
Ryntih provided the pressure in the early stages. The nerves of the Lajong players were settled in the 13th minute. Amon Lepcha tapped in the first goal of the match when the ball fell kindly to him following a corner.
Lajong went 2-0 ahead in the 38th minute. A poor touch in midfield by Ryntih captain, Brolington Warlarpih, provided a chance to counterattack. With numbers upfront, the Ryntih defense was left scrambling when Freestar Kharbangar slotted in the second goal.
A goalkeeping howler by Ryntih’s Maitshaphrang Kharumnuid enabled Lajong to score in the opening minute of the second half. A shot by Donboklang Lyngdoh was meekly punched into the path of Samuel Kynshi, who easily scored from close range. 3-0 and the match was essentially over.
Naorem Mahesh Singh provided the perfect end to Lajong’s season with a well-executed penalty in the 90th minute.
4-0 and Lajong were the champions of Shillong for the first time since 2016.
Unbeaten Rangdajied play out a goalless draw
Rangdajied United and Langsning played out a goalless draw in the last match of the Shillong Premier League 2019 season.
With the title having been secured, the fixture would not have had any bearing in the final standings. Both teams took to the field mainly comprising of their second-string players.
After a goalless display, Rangdajied did have the chance to go out on a high. A foul in the box in the 90th minute resulted in a penalty for Rangdajied. Unfortunately, Samson Nongrum’s weak effort was parried away by Langsning goalkeeper, Surjay Kumar Pariyar.
Rangdajied finished the season unbeaten. But with seven draws (five of them goalless) they ended the season with 22 points.
Langsning ended their season on 14 points and a fourth-place finish.
Nangkiew Irat escapes relegation on final day; Nongrim Hills go down
Nangkiew Irat escaped relegation from the Shillong Premier League by coming from a goal down to defeat Laban 3-1 in their final match at the JN Stadium.
Nangkiew Irat needed a win to climb above Nongrim Hills in the standings. As for Laban, the match was a matter of pride as they were relegated to the First Division next season.
After tense exchanges in the opening minutes, the match took an interesting turn in the closing stages of the match.
Bickyson Kharkongor headed in a cross in the 42nd minute to put Laban into the lead.
Nangkiew Irat struck back immediately through Banshan Nongdhar, who was left unmarked in the Laban box. A free header canceled Laban’s lead which lasted 90 seconds.
Lambor Nongsiej made it 2-1 in the first-half stoppage time when he easily beat Laban’s offside trap and put his team in the lead.
The second half was all Nangkiew Irat and the match was put to bed when Nongsiej beat his marker easily and scored the third in the 79th minute.
Relegation averted and Nongrim Hills will join Laban in the First Division in the next season. Incidentally, this was Nongrim’s and Laban’s first season in the SPL.
Nangkiew hold Nongrim Hills to a draw
Earlier in the week, Nangkiew Irat drew 1-1 against relegation candidates Nongrim Hills.
Both goals were scored via penalties, with Nikelson Bina putting Nongrim into the lead in the 16th minute while Nangkiew equalized through Banshan Nongdhar in the 57th.
Nangkiew had to play most of the match with 10 players after Shaibor Nongrum picked up two yellow cards by the 25th minute. Nongrim had Mebanshan Suting sent off towards the end of the game.
At the end of the match, Nongrim was on 11 points while Nangkiew had nine. The latter had one last chance to stay in the league and they did it in style.
Shillong Lajong were awarded a winner’s cheque of Rs two lakhs, while Rangdajied United picked up the runners-up prize of Rs 1 lakh.
The individual prizes were as follows:
Best Goalkeeper: Padam Chettri from Rangdajied United
Best Defender: Kenstar Kharshong from Shillong Lajong
Top Scorer: Phrangki Buam from Shillong Lajong (10 goals)
Best Emerging Player: Maxderidoff Wahlang from Shillong Lajong
[With inputs from the ever excellent coverage of sports in Meghalaya: The Sports Room.]