Aizawl: Shillong Lajong were relegated from the I-League after they suffered a 1-4 defeat at the hands of former champions Aizawl FC in their penultimate round match in Aizawl.
Lajong remained at the bottom of the 11-team I-League with 11 points from 19 matches. Even if they beat Mohun Bagan at home on Saturday in their final match, Lajong are certain to end at the last place as their immediate better-placed side Gokulam Kerala are currently on 17 points from 19 matches. With 21 points from 19 games, Aizawl are now in eighth position.
Ansumana Kromah (40′, 83′) scored a brace, Lalkhawpuimawia (81′) and Isak Vanlalruatfela (89′) also added their names to the score sheet. The consolation goal for Lajong came in the dying minutes of the match through substitute Donboklang Lyngdoh.
Alison Kharsyntiew made three changes to his side that drew 1-1 against Gokulam Kerala. Kynsailang Khongsit, Sheen Sokhtung and Samuel Lalmuanpuia were given the nod ahead of F Lalrohlua, Nabin Rabha and Kitboklang Pale. Kenstar Kharsong and Aibanbha Dohling continued to feature at the heart of defence with Neithovilie Chalieu under the sticks.
It was a slow start to the Derby in Aizawl, as both teams were calm in their approach and not being adventurous. The host had dominated possession and created majority of chances in the first half.
In the 28th minute, a wonderful Isak cross from the right saw a header from Hmingthan Mawia blocked by Kenstar Kharsong in the Lajong defence.
In the 40th minute, however, Kenstar was adjudged to have brought down Kromah inside the box and referee Ibungo Meetei immediately pointed to the dreaded spot. Kromah stepped up to convert it without a fuss.
The second half also saw Aizawl having more possession and Mapuia’s entry in the 64th minute brought even more drive in the Aizawl attack.
Isak had a good chance to score in the 70th minute when the ball fell favourably for him near the top of the box but his volley went well over.
Mapuia scored goal in the 81st minute. The third goal came two minutes later as a Kenstar backpass to Chalieu went horribly wrong for the keeper and the Liberian poacher Kromah made him pay. It was Kromah’s eighth goal of the 12th I-League season.
Isak finally got a well-deserved goal for himself. After a brilliant solo run along the box, he unleashed from the top of the box to bulge the Lajong net with a minute left in the regulation time.
Lajong’s first shot on target was affected seconds later by Samuel Lalmuanpuia and they finally had something to show in the third minute of injury time. Substitute Donbok broke away from his marker inside the box on the left, following a lovely ball from Sheen, to send past Aizawl goalkeeper Gurpreet into the left corner.