Shillong beat Arrows in I-League tie
Shillong, Jan. 8 (IANS): Shillong Lajong rode on a lone strike by Abdoulaye Koffi to defeat the spirited Indian Arrows 1-0 in an I-League encounter here on Monday.
Koffi (80th minute) scored a superb goal in the closing stages to break the sturdy Arrows defence and earn all three points for the hosts at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here.
Shillong rose two spots to the fourth spot with 14 points from nine matches.
Arrows remain at the eighth spot in the 10-team table with seven points from nine matches.
Both teams started in the 4-2-3-1 formation. Arrows coach Louis Norton de Matos handed Roshan Singh his first start in this season’s I-League and Deepak Tangri combined with Asish Rai in the defence.
Shillong took a more direct and aggressive approach, pushing the Arrows on to the backfoot.
The first half was dominated by Lajong as they kept attacking the Arrows defence. It looked like the Arrows were not the same team they had been when they beat Lajong 3-0 in their previous encounter.
Meanwhile, the moment of glory came for Arrows’ goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Gill when he jumped to his left to save a penalty from Lajong skipper Samuel Lalmuanpuia.
Arrows’ Deepak Tangri, following a tackle on Koffi, handled the ball inside the box and the referee didn’t hesitate to award a penalty to the hosts but the skipper’s right-footed shot was comfortably saved by the goal keeper.
Shillong created many chances during the first half but none were successful in finding the net.
Gill also proved that he was a force to be reckoned with as he made some impressive saves for his team.
In the second half, Aiman missed a golden chance to put Shillong in the lead during 57th minute as Arrows’ defender Asish Rai messed up his clearance.
Arrows tried their best to spread out over the field and up their game but the Lajong players were intercepting their passes well and maintained the intensity of their attack.
After an onslaught of attacks on Arrows, Lajong’s winning goal finally came in the 80th minute when Lajong forward Abdoulaye Koffi raced into the box, past the outstretched Jitendra and delivered a wonderful shot into the roof of the net.
Shillong almost had doubled their lead in the 84th minute when Captain Samuel Lalmuanpuia delivered a free kick which bumped onto the crossbar.
Shillong will now host Minerva Punjab FC on January 14 whereas Arrows will host Neroca FC at the Tilak Maidan in Goa two days later.