Shillong, Sep 9: Mawlai SC won their maiden OC Blue Shillong Premier League title without having to take the field after Langsning FC and Rangdajied United FC played out a 1-1 draw in the 47th match of the 2021-22 season at Third Ground, Polo, here today.
Mawlai, with 29 points, have an unassailable 7-point lead over Langsning and Rangdajied, who both have 22 with two games to play.
Making their return to the local top flight after several years in the First Division, the OC Blue SPL title is the icing on the cake for Mawlai, who have been imperious this season, winning nine of their 11 games so far, with just two draws and having conceded only three goals.
Raikutshisha Buam (20’) scored first for Rangdajied today before Langsning, who had been reduced to 10 men in the second half, equalised via Ronney Kharbudon (78’).
Coming into today’s fixture, both sides had 21 points but Langsning had head-to-head advantage after winning the reverse fixture 2-1 on 7 July. As a result of today’s match, Langsning retained second place for now.
Langsning, however, failed to stamp their authority in the first half of the match today and conceded in the 20th minute after their defence line took things a little easily, perhaps thinking that Oresterwell Langshiang was offside. However, the assistant referee saw nothing untoward and Langshiang fed a through ball to Buam, who went one on one with Surjay Kumar Pariyar and placed the ball to the right of the Langsning goalkeeper’s outstretched arm.
Rangdajied suffered a blow later on in the first half after Knerktilang Buam had to be stretchered off and he was replaced by Wallambha Kharpran.
Kharpran’s introduction led to the red card for Langsning’s Ambilstar Sun, with whom he wrestled for the ball on more than one occasion. Early in the second half, though, an elbow into the Rangdajied player saw Sun sent off and Langsning reduced to 10 players.
That advantage in men saw RUFC come close to doubling their lead, first through a Dibormi Kassar header off a corner that went wide and then a beautiful Donboklang Lyngdoh shot from the edge of the box that Pariyar put out with a dive at full stretch.
Langsning’s energy then increased markedly but they were still unable to get close to breaking their opponents’ defence. That was the case until Kynsaibor Lhuid curled in a corner which Kharbudon headed in powerfully.
That goal brought an end to Rangdajied’s and their keeper Banshanlang Sten’s streak of four clean sheets. Sten also had to come off later due to injury and was replaced by Ialamlynti Biam.
Minutes later Kharbudon missed a chance to repeat his heroics, going too high with a header off a cross by Arnesius Marwein and the latter then had everyone on tenterhooks after a long range attempt – with Biam off his line – went agonisingly wide deep in stoppage time.
Tomorrow, Mawlai (29 points) will take on Ryntih SC (17 points) in a derby game. Although the title is all wrapped up, Mawlai will want to perform well against their local rivals and keep their unbeaten run going. When the two sides met in the first leg on 14 July, Mawlai had mauled their opponents 5-0.