After a frenetic fortnight of football, the semifinal lineup of the Meghalaya State League has taken shape.
21 clubs qualified for the MSL by winning the various local leagues organized by associations affiliated with the Meghalaya Football Association.
The teams were divided into four groups and played each other once at neutral venues, with the top club from each group progressing to the two-legged semifinals.
The 45 matches in the group stage produced 198 goals. Well, 202 goals to be exact, but there was some executive decision taken regarding the four goals.
For all the results and standings (plus a few highlights packages) check out our Meghalaya State League page.
Shillong Lajong pip Lumniwar to claim the top spot
Group A consisted of Shillong Lajong FC (Shillong), Umkaber SC (Tyrsad), Lawbah SC (Mawsynram), Royal FC (Sorah), Lumniwar SC (Ri-Bhoi), and Umrit SC (Ri-Bhoi). The matches were played at Jowai (West Jaintia Hills).
Without I-League football for the first time in eight years, the Shillong Premier League champions swept past their Meghalaya state opponents with scores of 8-1 (twice), 4-0, and 6-0. It wasn’t a smooth sailing though as they were held by Lumniwar SC a goalless draw.
Lumniwar registered four wins with scorelines of 9-0, 8-0, and 4-0. However, in the last league match, they managed one goal and ended with a goal difference +22. Lajong finished with a GD of +24 to finish top of the group.
It was a shame to see a team like Lumniwar drop out of the competition after a strong performance. 5 matches, 22 goals, none conceded.
Mynthong miss out as Sutnga claim top spot
Group B consisted of Sutnga SSSC (East Jaintia Hills), Mynthong (West Jaintia Hills), Jalaphet Bri-Sumer FC (Saipung), Iatyllilang Lumsehkot (Laskein), Umladkhur (Amlarem). The matches were played at Khliehriat (East Jaintia Hills).
In sharp contrast, Group B winners Sutnga SSSC went through with a narrow margin. Three wins and a draw with two goals scored and none conceded.
Wait, what? Two goals and three wins? How did that happen?
Two 1-0 wins and a 0-0 draw aside, Sutnga SSSC were handed three points following their match against Mynthong.
The encounter between the two teams ended 3-1 in favor of Mynthong. A few days later, the Disciplinary Committee of the MSL penalized Mynthong for fielding an ineligible foreign player.
Interestingly, the ineligible Mynthong player (Dieye Hamidou) had scored a brace in the 3-1 victory over Sutnga.
Sutnga collected the three points and leapfrogged their direct opponents to the top of the table with 10 point.
Mynthong finished second in the group with nine points. The GD of +13 and not losing a match on the field did not help their cause.
Rangdajied United win four in four
Group C consisted of Rangdajied United FC (Shillong), Khliehmawlieh Youth Club (Nongstoin), Mawkohphed SC (Mawkyrwat), Madan Bynther SC (Pyndengumiong), and Nondaju Seng Samla SSCA (Mawshynrut). The matches were played at Mawkyrwat (South West Khasi Hills).
Rangdajied United FC topped Group C with a near-perfect record of four wins, 15 goals while conceding one.
The former I-League team did not have it easy though. A 3-1 win was followed by a couple of narrow 1-0 wins. It was only during their last match against the whipping boys of the group, Nondaju Seng Samla SSCA, did Rangdajied score heavily. 10-0 to be exact.
The local team, Mawkohphed SC, finished in third place. The folks at Opta would’ve loved their stats. Two wins, two losses. Seven goals for, seven goals against. GD of zero. Symmetry.
Druma Sandruma drum up four wins; holders Niaw Wasa drummed out
Group D consisted of Druma Sandruma SC (Tura), Garo Warriors FC (Williamnagar), Niaw Wasa FC (Jowai), Resu Conventus FC (Resubelpara), and Salaram FC (Baghmara). The matches were held at Resubelpara (North Garo Hills).
Druma Sandruma SC were the runaway winners of Group D. A crucial 3-1 win over Garo Warriors set the tone for the Tura-based club. A 12-1 thrashing of Salaram, a narrow 3-2 win over Niaw Wasa, and a 2-1 win over Resu Conventus ensured 12 points.
Garo Warriors FC finished second with nine points, while holder Niaw Wasa bowed out with two wins and two losses. Local team, Resu Conventus FC, were on the receiving end of three 2-1 losses.
Salaram FC were on the receiving end of all their matches ending their participation with a GD of -28.
…and the semifinals of the Meghalaya State League will be held on
The two-legged semifinals will be played on December 13th and 17th.
In the first semifinal, Sutnga will aim to give Rangdajied United a run for their money at their home turf at the Teilang Phawa Stadium in Khliehriat.
The Shillong Lajong – Druma Sandruma encounter will be played at a neutral setting at Kiang Nangbah Stadium, Jowai.
Rangdajied United will feel closer to home in the second semifinals held at the MSDA Football Ground, Mawkyrwat.
The Druma Sandruma faithful will aim to drum up support from their Garo Hills counterparts when they face Lajong at Government UP & RMSA School Ground, Resubelpara in the second semifinal.
In all likelihood, it will be an all-Shillong encounter in the finals with Rangdajied and Lajong holding a significant advantage over their opponents.