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Lajong, Pune match ends in goalless draw

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By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: Shillong Lajong FC opened their I League campaign with a goalless draw against Pune FC at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune on Saturday.

In a game of equal exchanges, Lajong, who would share a point with Pune FC, had an upperhand with the chances that they created in course of the match.

Talking to The Shillong Times, Lajong coach Pradyum Reddy said the team has done extremely well and apart from a few mistakes, looked a better side during the encounter.

“Few defensive errors got Pune into the match, however we were dominant throughout,” Reddy added.

Pune FC began proceedings on the backfoot with Shillong Lajong striker John Menyongar going over a couple of times before Pune created the first close chance of the match.

In the the 15th minute Douhou Pierre failed to keep the ball within the framework from eight yards after Arata Izumi cut in a low cross that got past the Lajong backline.

Lajong, thereafter, held the upper hand and kept the Pune defence on their toes with several counter attacks in which John dangerously had a clear shot after defender Chika Wali missed averting the situation.

The first half was also marred with several injuries. Lajong was hit bad when Lalramluaha clashed with Arata accidently and ended up injuring his forehead.

After a barren first half, both Pune and Lajong came out attacking in the second session.

Douhou worked well with Jeje Lalpekhlua, but on several occasion Pune forwards lacked the final touch.

The creative Douhou many a times went on solo runs and did well to set up his teammamtes with clear cut chances.

Lajong also pushed forward but were constantly thwarted by Pune backline and more so by goalkeeper Shahinlal Meloly who was later adjudged the man-of-the-match.

First he cut short John’s run on the edge of the box, then flung himself to his left to keep out a James Gbilee try from 25-yards. He did have his moments of anxiety particularly when he advanced to block James run to a through ball, which in turn rebounded off Shahinlal and fell at the feet of Subhash Singh.

Lajong coach said, “the fact that Meloly got the man-of-the-match award for his brilliant saves speaks volumes about Lajong’s performance in the match.”(With inputs from PTI)

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