Shillong Lajong return to I-League after four years

New Delhi: Shillong Lajong FC was on Sunday confirmed as the first team to be promoted to the 2023-24 I-League, making a comeback to the second tier after a gap of four years.

The Meghalaya side edged FC Bengaluru United 2-1 at the SSA Stadium in Shillong to take their final round tally to seven points from four games.

They were relegated after finishing at the bottom of the table in the 2018-19 season. Their journey in this season’s 2nd Division began as early as the qualifying round in February, where they overcame Downtown Heroes, Corbett and United Chirang Duar to progress to the group stage.

Pitted alongside United SC, East Bengal Reserves and The Diamond Rock FA, Lajong finished second in the group and qualified for the final round as the best runners-up across all groups.

A heavy 1-5 thrashing at the hands of Ambernath United Atlanta five days ago meant that it was a do-or-die situation for Lajong against Bengaluru United on Sunday.

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Spurred on by a strong home crowd, Everbrightson Mylliempdah’s brilliant curling strike gave them the lead just before half-time, but Kongbrailatpam Manjit Sharma equalised for the visitors just after the restart.

However, eight minutes from time, Figo Syndai’s header regained the lead for Bobby Nongbet’s side, which they maintained until the final whistle.

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