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Indian Arrows stun Shillong Lajong 3-0 to register 2nd I-League win

Indian Arrows notched their second win of the I-League season with a 3-0 win over Shillong Lajong FC at the Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi.

football Updated: Dec 26, 2017 17:48 IST
Bhargab Sarmah
Bhargab Sarmah
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Indian Arrows,Shillong Lajong,I-League
The Indian Arrows beat last year’s I-League runners-up 3-0 at the Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi, registering their second win of the season in the process. (AIFF)

Indian Arrows registered their second win of the I-League season with a 3-0 shock win over Shillong Lajong FC at the Ambedkar Stadium here on Tuesday. Playing in the Capital for the second time this season, Arrows rode on goals from Jitendra Singh, Nongdamba Naorem and Rahul KP to notch full points.

The visitors finished the game with 10 men after substitute Lalrohlua was sent off in the 61st minute.

Arrows were quicker off the blocks, putting Lajong under pressure early on. With head coach Luis Norton de Matos out of town, his assistant Floyd Pinto got his tactics spot on and managed to keep Lajong’s dangerous attack at bay throughout the 90 minutes.

While Arrows controlled proceedings early on, the first chance of the game fell to Lajong when Abdoulaye Koffi was put through on goal in the 16th minute.

His low shot, however, failed to get past Arrows custodian Dheeraj Singh.

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Three minutes later, Arrows earned a free-kick inside the visitors’ half when Sanjeev Stalin was impeded by Lajong’s Daniel Odafin. Arrows’s quick free-kick subsequently took Lajong by surprise and defender Jitendra Singh beat the opposition defenders to put the ball at the bottom right corner of the goal and give his side the lead.

Arrows controlled the game for the rest of the first half as Lajong struggled to keep possession.

At the beginning of the second half, Lajong head coach Bobby Nongbet brought on midfielder Lalrohlua in place of skipper Samuel Lalmuanpuia, who was seen limping towards the end of the first half.

At the hour mark, Lalrohlua’s game ended early after he went hard at Arrows forward Rahim Ali, earning his second yellow card to bring his side down to 10 men.

A player down, Lajong struggled to create chances, and the hosts took full advantage of the situation to add two more goals to their kitty.

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In the 76th minute, Nongdamba Naorem came on for Abhijit Sarkar as Arrows continued to apply pressure. Ten minutes later, he cut in from the left flank and beat two Lajong defenders to put the ball in the net.

With three points virtually assured, substitute Rahul KP rounded off the victory with a shot from the edge of the box which beat the visitors’ keeper, Phurba Lachenpa, at his near post.

Speaking at the post-match press conference, Lajong coach Bobby Nongbet admitted they were outplayed.

“In the first half, we were totally outplayed. They played really well. In the second half, we pressed for an equaliser, but the red card didn’t help,” he said. “I think this is a really different Arrows team. They showed great maturity.”

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Nongbet’s counterpart Floyd Pinto praised his boys for keeping shape and managing to hold their heads after taking the lead.

“It is a game between two of the youngest teams in the league. What we focused was on being organised,” he stated. “At 1-0, it could have been anything, even with 10 men, but the substitutes came on and did well.”

First Published: Dec 26, 2017 17:21 IST