Shillong Premier League 2023: Lajong return to form, ease past Sawmer for SF place

Shillong, Apr 27: Shillong Lajong FC became the third team to qualify for the semifinals of the Shillong Premier League 2023 as they overcame Sawmer SC 4-0 at the SSA Stadium at First Ground, Polo, here today.

After six rounds, Lajong now have 12 points, one behind second-placed Mawlai SC. Sawmer stay stuck on 3 points and are out of the running for a place in the semis.

Wadajied Kynsai Ryngkhlem (18’, 77’) scored his first goals of the season, while league top scorer Deibormame Tongper (14’) produced his eighth and Gladdy Kharbuli (24’) netted the other in the convincing win. This also happens to be the first time that SLFC have kept a clean sheet this season.

It was a return to form for Lajong, who had lost their previous two fixtures, including a 5-0 hammering at the hands of Mawlai. Sawmer, meanwhile, suffered a reversal of fortune as they had last beaten Ryntih SC 4-0 earlier this week.

Lajong were just faster, demonstrated better passing, execution and control. Sawmer, on the other hand, were a little hesitant at the back and only really began to threaten at the other end in the second half.

The first three goals came thick and fast. Colinsalmon Lyngdoh hooked the ball from the left flank for Deibor to boot it in for the opener despite being marked by two Sawmer players.

A terrific counterattack then saw Babysunday Marngar sprint up the right from his own half and put the ball through for Wadajied, who scored from the six yard box.

Minutes later a free-kick from Gladdy saw no one get to the ball and it bounced in the box across the goal line.

Deibor would be denied at point blank range in the second half but Lajong for the most part dialled down their intensity, while Sawmer increased theirs but still found it impossible to punch through the defence.

Bishar Mawthoh had a go in the 68th minute but Lajong goalkeeper Wanteilang Malngiang pushed it over the crossbar. Later Mark Austin Wanswett found himself with lots of time and space in the box and looked to curl one in over Wanteilang but his good effort rattled the woodwork.

Before that, it was Wadajied who scored Lajong’s fourth with a screamer unleashed from the edge of the box that was the icing on the cake of a very confident performance from the whole team.

Monday will see another big fixture between leaders Rangdajied United FC and Langsning FC at 3:15pm. Rangdajied have already locked in first place with six straight wins and may give key players a rest but they could also script history by keeping their perfect win record going right through the round robin stage. Langsning, on the other hand, want to win in order to guarantee them the last available semifinal slot.

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