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Royal Wahingdoh claim third SPL title

By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: Royal Wahingdoh FC managed to clinch its third consecutive Shillong Premier League (SPL) title after defeating Rangdajied United FC 3-1 in the final, which was played at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Saturday.

In what proved to be a fitting end to the tournament RWFC won the match in extra time after both teams were locked at 1-1 after normal time.

The goals scored by Beekay Bawar, Chencho and Milancy Khongstia guided Wahingdoh to this memorable victory, which will be especially pleasing as Rangdajied were by far the most dominant team during the league stage.

RWFC went into the lead in the 32nd minute after Beekay Bawar’s right-footer saw the ball sail into the net.

Ten minutes later Babatunde Badmus, who also earned the award for the most goals scored in this season’s edition of the SPL, helped Rangdajied level the score through a header in the first half, giving his side hope for their first Shillong Premier League title.

Although the second half failed to produce any additional goals, there were numerous missed chances by both sides.

Babatunde almost produced another blinder in the 58th minute after heading a long ball straight to Royal Wahingdoh keeper Saroj, who did well to make a save.

Most disappointingly for Rangdajied’s fans, their other foreign striker, Jeribe Kelechi, was unable to convert the simplest of chances in the 80th minute after taking a close range shot that was off target and this proved costly.

Among the best chances for the Royals, Mala sent a calculated free kick to Kima Junior, who just missed a header in the 64th minute.

With the scores level, the match was pushed into extra time and it was the goal by Chencho that put the Royals in a strong position.

Chencho, who had been having a rather ordinary season this year, silenced critics after brilliantly converting a pass in the 10th minute of extra time.

Wahingdoh did not ease up on the pressure after taking the lead, with several further scoring opportunities in the second period had the rival defenders on their toes. Rangdajied, for their part were unable to counter attack effectively.

Finally Rangdajied gave in to the pressure.

Milancy earned ball possession and calmly slotted the ball past the keeper in injury time to ensure Royal Wahingdoh FC their third successive SPL final victory.

RWFC’s Kareem was adjudged Man-of-the-Match after he made his presence felt with his highly impressive display of defending.

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