Shillong, Sep 20: Shillong Lajong FC ended their OC Blue Shillong Premier League 2021-22 campaign with a resounding 4-0 sweep of Malki SC at Third Ground, Polo, here today.
Gladdy Kharbuli (33’, 74’), Samuel Vanlalpeka (40’) and Wadajied Ryngkhlem (69’) scored Lajong’s goals in what was the 53rd match of the season.
Coming into today’s fixture, Malki had 10 points and Shillong Lajong 14. Malki were unable to escape the relegation zone no matter today’s result, while Lajong knew that a win would move them up to fourth place. Lajong had beaten Malki in the first leg thanks to a stoppage time goal on 23 July.
At most, they had pride to play for but Malki were a shadow of the team that beat Nangkiew Irat in their last outing, though they only made one change to their starting line-up by bringing in Sobestar Nongrang in place of Iostar Thabah in goal.
Nongrang had one good moment to deny Sangti Janai Shianglong with a dive to his left but, otherwise, was a little below par. That being said, Malki did not shine in any position and Kharbuli found the opener after half an hour’s play after a nice set of one touch passes between his team mates before he took a low shot that left Nongrang rooted to the spot.
Lajong should have gone 2-0 up in the 39th but, after the Malki keeper flapped uselessly at the ball, Iohbor L Lyngkhoi missed an empty goal. Nevertheless, SLFC found the two-goal cushion a minute later with Vanlalpeka going deep on the right before finding the mark from a very tight angle.
Malki had a couple of chances of their own in the first half, with Emboklang Nongkhlaw too high with his shot on the run before Kenny Kharnaior was wayward after trying to curl one in.
In the second half, Malki survived a tense moment early on when an attacking move gave their opponents two chances to score but the defence was somehow able to clear their lines.
Around the hour mark, Kharbuli failed to control a volley but later on he managed to chip the onrushing goalkeeper for his second goal, which came a few minutes after Ryngkhlem aimed one in low from the edge of the box.
With 17 points, Lajong are now tied with Ryntih SC but have a better head-to-head and goal difference. SLFC could still lose fourth place, though, tomorrow as Nangkiew Irat SC (16 points) are set to face bottom side Mawkhar SC (6). In the first leg, Nangkiew Irat emerged as 3-1 winners on 19 July.