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Lajong lose to Churchill Brothers

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Shillong, March 4: Shillong Lajong FC went down 2-1 in their I-League 2023-24 match against Churchill Brothers in Goa on Monday.
Both sides were reduced to 10 men each in the second half after a coming together.
Coach Bobby Lyngdoh Nongbet made three changes to his starting line-up from the dramatic draw against Rajasthan FC a few days ago. Allen Lyngdoh Nongbri was ineligible after picking up a red card in the last match, while Neithovilie Chalieu stood in goal in place of Bishal Lama after the latter had a bit of a shocker. Damaitphang Lyngdoh also got a start, replacing Kynsaibor Lhuid. A familiar face was on the other side of the pitch in the form of Abdou Karim Samb, who had been released by Lajong in January.
In the reverse fixture, Lajong had beaten Churchill 2-0 at home on December 6.
Stendly Fernandes (15′) got the home side in front before Phrangki Buam (41′) equalised before half time. Martin Chavez then provided the winner for Churchill Brothers in the 80th minute.
The opening goal came about after Lalremruata’s free-kick was punched away poorly by Neithovilie straight to Fernandes, who was unmarked just inside the box. He took a couple of steps before nailing his shot past the goalie.
Later on, the hosts gave away the ball cheaply and that allowed Lajong to build up an attack, with Douglas Tardin making the cross that Phrangki only had to tap in for his third goal of the I-League season and 10th overall in the competition since he made his debut in 2018-19.
It was in the second half that the players saw red.
It all started when Churchill were looking to make a counterattack but Damaitphang took out Fernandes with an atrocious tackle. The Churchill player wasn’t too happy about that and confronted Damaitphang. However, only Fernandes was shown a card, that too a yellow.
Instead, it was Lamgoulen Hangshing of the Goan side and the visitors’ Ronaldkydon Lyngdoh Nonglait who were sent off for the pushing and shoving between the two sides later. That meant that Ronald put in only the briefest of appearances on Monday as he had just been brought on as a substitute a few minutes before the incident.
While Lajong looked inclined to take a draw, Churchill were pushing for the win; they hadn’t had the best of campaigns, with only four wins out of 16 matches before this evening.
A long throw-in saw Samb flick the ball with a header towards team mate Aubin Kouakou, whose own header struck the crossbar. This rebounded towards Chavez, who nailed the high ball with an acrobatic effort.
There was almost a second equaliser for the Shillong side, with substitute Kynsaibor forcing a brilliant dive from veteran keeper Subhasish Roy Chowdhury in a lengthy stoppage time period but Lajong had to walk away from the game in defeat.
The result leaves Lajong in sixth place on 26 points, tied with Inter Kashi but with head-to-head against them. Churchill, meanwhile, jump to ninth with 20 points.
SLFC’s next match will be at Aizawl FC on Saturday at 4:30PM.

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