SHILLONG — Shillong Lajong defeated Gokulam FC by a slender 1-0 margin in their home fixture of the Hero I-League here Nov. 27.
Lajong played an offensive formation of 4-3-2-1, while Gokulam played a rather defensive 4-3-3.
Eventually, the hosts garnered all three points in their season opener, all thanks to the 76th-minute goal by Alen Deory.
The first half was very electrifying. Both teams played their parts brilliantly with Lajong playing offense and Gokulam playing defense.
The ball possession was not constant to any team and both were able to snatch it from each other, making the ball juggle from one goalpost to the other.
There were a lot of attempts by both sides but neither was able to penetrate the goal. Either the ball was deflected by the goalkeeper or overshot the post.
The two most important attempts taken in the first half were both by Lajong skipper Samuel Lalmuanpuia.
At the end of the first half, two minutes extra time was given for either team to play their magic. Unfortunately enough for both, no goals were scored in the first half, leaving the Shillong audience rather disappointed.
The second half of the game was rougher and though serious fouls were committed, still the players were seen stumbling upon each other and the tackling was fierce.
In this half of the game, Lajong had more ball possession, near about 60 percent.
There was one substitution each for Lajong as well as for Gokulam. In the case of Lajong, Kynsailang Khongsit was called out of the game to be substituted by Samuel J. Lyngdoh Kynshi. In case of Gokulam, Usman Ashik replaced Arif Shaikh.
The game was going well for Gokulam until the 76th minute when Deory scored a header into the goal, assisted by Lalmuanpuia.
It was a long free-kick taken by Lalmuanpuia and Deory poked in a brilliant header to breach the Gokulam defense.
After the goal, Gokulam went guns blazing to score an equalizer but was unable to do so.
Four extra minutes were given to the match and Gokulam tried to score but could not breach Lajong's defenses.
Deory went on to be the Hero of the match.
In front of a strong home support, Lajong set off their Hero I-League journey with a clinical three-pointer.