Lajong rally to hold Bengaluru at home

SHILLONG: Shillong Lajong FC rallied to break Bengaluru FC’s five-match winning streak, holding the defending champions 1-1 in a Hero I-League match played at the JN Stadium here on Friday.
Sean Rooney executed a difficult header to enable the visitors to take the lead in the first half, before a handball in the second gave Lajong the chance to equalize through Uilliams Souza Silva.
Following the draw, Lajong moved up to the sixth spot with 17 points in their kitty while Bengaluru remained second with 32 points.
A lot was at stake for Thangboi Singto and his men coming into the match against the famed opponents and the Reds were up to the mark dominating most of the second half against the visitors despite missing out on the services of their star striker Cornell Glen.
Earlier, it was a dreary start to the match as neither teams made any clear-cut chances in the opening exchanges.
Only in the 33rd minute came the first real chance of the match as CK Vineeth made a great run down the left and crossed it for Sean Rooney into the box. Rooney’s header was looping into goal, and was tipped over by Kunzang Bhutia.
However, Bengaluru and Rooney finally struck in the 45th minute. After wasting an earlier free kick, Bengaluru earned a second on the right flank a few yards outside the box. Local lad Eugeneson Lyngdoh placed the shot to perfection for Rooney who made no mistake to head the ball into the back of the net past SLFC goalkeeper Kunzang Bhutia.
Crossing over the Reds looked more determined in their approach. A Penn Orji shot was parried for a corner by rival custodian Ralte. The corner turned out to be a nightmare for John Johnson as he inexplicably ended up handling Uillaims’ delivery and the referee had no hesitation to point to the spot.
Uilliams stepped up and smashed it to the left of Ralte, giving him no chance and it was all level in the 65th minute.
Thereafter, banking on the momentum, the home side create a flurry of chances but failed to convert of them.   First it was Uilliams who tested Ralte from the left with a grounded shot before Milan Singh smashed it straight to the former Shillong Lajong keeper.
Uillaims had a free-kick after Boithang Haokip was brought down but the Brazilian smashed it over the bar.
Thereafter both sides looked to be content with a point each from the match and it eventually ended with the scores at 1-1.
While Westwood was disappointed with the outcome, Lajong coach Thangboi Singto felt that his boys had done a decent job against the defending champions.