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Dream start for Lajong FC

Reds trounce five-time champions Dempo SC 3-0

Mapusa (Goa): In what could be termed as a dream start, Shillong Lajong FC drubbed Goan giants and five-time champions Dempo 3-0 in their own backyard to begin the Airtel I-League 2013-14 campaign in style at the Duler Stadium in Goa on Sunday.

However, new entrants Rangdajied United FC could not impress in their I-League debut as they lost 0-2 to United SC on Sunday at Kolkata.

Shillong Lajong FC players Taisuke Matsuge and captain Minchol Son vie  for the ball with Dempo SC player Beto during their I-League opening  encounter at Duler Stadium in Goa on Sunday.
Shillong Lajong FC players Taisuke Matsuge and captain Minchol Son vie
for the ball with Dempo SC player Beto during their I-League opening
encounter at Duler Stadium in Goa on Sunday.

Lajong’s major signing, Trinidad and Tobago international Cornell Glen proved his worth in his very first match with the Reds by scoring a double while seasoned campaigner Boithang Haokip netted one to hand over the Shillong side its biggest away victory ever. Lajong now have three points in their kitty and are well poised to carry the momentum forward from here.

Glen scored in the 30th and 67th minutes while Haokip found the target in the 38th minute to better Lajong’s miserable record against the Goan teams.

The Reds dominated ball possession and their ploy to continue with persistent attacks paid off in the 30th minute when Brazilian signing Uilliams Bomfin Souza Silva released the ball to Glen who dribbled past Dempo’s Shimosouka Honda and Colosimo before curling the ball into the top left corner of the nets to draw first blood for his side.

The goal surely marked a sign of intent from the Reds, who looked focused on breaking their away jinx. Eight minutes later, Lajong doubled the lead when Dempo keeper Subhasish Roy Chowdhury handled the ball outside the box. Referee Ranjit Bakshi awarded the visitors a free kick while penalizing Chowdhury with a yellow card.

Midfielder Boithang Haokip, a free kick specialist, made no mistake as he floated the ball into the right corner of the goal as the rival custodian remained stranded in his place. It was looked all but over for the home side, as they went into the break trailing by two goals.

Crossing over, the home team continued to struggle to gain control of the match and made their first substitution in the 55th minute with Indian International Jeje replacing Mandar Rao.

Dempo then tried to consolidate and played with more intent, but a solid defensive display from the Reds thwarted any attempts on the goal.

Piling more misery on the hosts, Lajong swelled the lead in the 67th minute when skipper Minchol Son sent a long ball into the Dempo box for Glen who found the net from an acute angle from the right.

With the match virtually over for their rivals, Lajong made the first substitution in the 73rd minute when Subhash Singh replaced Silva.

With 12 minutes remaining, Dempo created a good chance when a shot by Beto found substitute Joy Ferrao, who unfortunately hit the top right corner of the post.

Glen was later substituted by Seikhohau Tuboi, who made his I-league appearance for the Reds after a year’s hiatus. The Reds, behaving like a well-knit side, played out the final moments of the game with ease to secure three points.

The final whistle confirmed a remarkable win first up for Lajong who successfully broke their Goan jinx at Duler.

Lajong had finished 11th in the standing in the last season while Dempo had ended 5th.

The Reds now play Pune FC in their second away encounter of the I-League seasons next Sunday. (With inputs from PTI)

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