I-League: Shillong Lajong ride on Mahesh Singh’s brace to beat Aizawl in north-eastern derby
Naorem Mahesh Singh scored a wonderful brace as Shillong Lajong stunned 2017 champions Aizawl FC 2-1 in their opening I-League encounter at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Sunday.
Playing with a young and an all-Indian side, Lajong showed great fight to clinch a victory over the former League champions in the season’s first Northeastern derby.
Lajong started well and scored their first in the 20th minute when a world-class strike from Naorem set the hosts up and running into the contest. Receiving a pass from Novin Gurung, the youngster cut past an Aizawl defender before curling the ball into the net with a sensational strike.
Aizawl, on the other hand, looked listless going forward and despite playing with foreign players – one of which was former Mohun Bagan and East Bengal forward Ansumana Kromah – the visitors failed to create chances. And even when they came close to scoring although far and very few in between, Aizawl failed to convert.
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Skipper Alfred Jaryan had the best opportunity for them to score just five minutes into the second half but the midfielder despite finding himself in an open position, failed to pull the goal back after his shot from a weak foot failed to trouble Neithovilie Chalieu.
A minute later Naorem scored his second after getting to the end of a beautiful cross from Rakesh Pradhan.
Aizawl eventually pulled one back after young Lajong keeper brought Kromah down inside his own penalty box. The Liberian striker stood up and scored to decrease the deficit to one goal, but could not deny Lajong the victory.