Downtown Heroes FC – 1 (Ronney 23’ (og) Shillong Lajong FC – 2 (Ronney 36’ 52’)
Kokrajhar: Ronney Wilson Kharbudon’s two headed goals helped ten men Shillong Lajong FC beat Downtown Heroes, Srinagar 2-1 to end their campaign on a high in a Group D fixture of the 132nd IndianOil Durand Cup played here at the SAI Stadium. Interestingly, it was Ronney Wilson’s deflected own goal that gave Downtown Heroes the lead. Lajong goalkeeper Ngamsanglena was shown a straight red card in the 10th minute of the game. Shillong Lajong finished the tournament with three points from three matches.
All 43 games of the 132nd IndianOil Durand Cup are being telecast LIVE on Sony Sports Ten 2 channels as well as livestreamed on SonyLIV
Shillong Lajong Head Coach Bobby Lyngdoh Nongbet made nine changes to the starting lineup for their final match of the tournament. Figo Syndai and Captain Hardy Cliff Nongbri retained their place in the lineup. Downtown Heroes Head Coach Hilal Rasool Parray named a very strong side for their historic debut in the Durand Cup.
Shillong Lajong were playing for pride as they were out of the reckoning to qualify for the knockouts while Downtown Heroes were playing to make a mark in the highest level of Indian football. The side from Kashmir started on the front foot against a more experienced Shillong side. Parvaj Bhuiya’s shot was saved by the Lajong keeper as the Kashmir side showed their intent early on. The first real chance of the half came for Shillong Lajong as Pursunep’s effort was saved brilliantly by Downtown Heroes keeper Paramjit Baghel.
The counter attack on that save led to Shillong Lajong being reduced to ten men. Nigerian Ezekeil Oroh was free on goal but he was cut down by Lajong goalkeeper Ngamsanglena Haokip who came rushing outside the box. Shillong Lajong played positively even with a man down as they came close to breaking the deadlock in the 16th minute. Kynsailang Khongsit’s cross was met by Laiwang Bohham before the Downtown Heroes keeper could punch it away but his header went wide. Figo Syndai’s effort minutes later hit the side netting.
Downtown Heroes broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute through an own goal by Ronney Wilson Kharbudon. DHFC Captain Shahid Nazir’s free kick was deflected into his own goal by Ronney giving the lead for the side from Kashmir. Shillong Lajong continued to play positive football which led to the equalizer in the 36th minute. A corner from Laiwang Bohham was met by Figo Syndai and the ball was headed in by Ronney Wilson who was waiting on the line, making amends for his own goal earlier. The teams went into the break with the match poised on a goal each.
Downtown Heroes were trying to make use of their man advantage but could not find the decisive moves in the final stretch. On the other end, Shillong Lajong were menacing on the counter attacks and were making good use of their set pieces. One such move led to the second goal for the Reds. Captain Hardy Cliff Nongbri’s freekick from the center circle was met well by Ronney Wilson and his glancing header beat keeper Paramjit Baghel to give the ten men the lead. The game followed the same pattern as Downtown Heroes chased for the equalizer.
Shillong Lajong were organized in defence and made good use of the counter attacks. It was the side from Meghalaya who created the better chances, mostly from set pieces. Figo Syntai had a golden opportunity to finish off the game but he shot wide after the Downtown keeper spilled the ball off a corner. Shillong Lajong saw off the rest of the game as they signed off the tournament with a win and with confidence into the I – League season, which they have been promoted this year.
Defending Champions to start tomorrow
Defending champions Bengaluru FC will start their campaign tomorrow in Group C at the Kishore Bharathi Krirangan when they face Indian Air Force FT. The match will kick off at 6 PM and Bengaluru will look to open their trophy defence with a win.
In the earlier kickoff, Chennaiyin FC will look to extend their winning start to the tournament when they face Tribhuvan Army FC in a Group E fixture at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati at 3 PM. Tribhuvan Army had drawn their first match 1-1 against Delhi FC.