I-League Report Card: Shillong Lajong

It was a successful season for the north eastern side who finished in their best ever position of sixth...
By Kaustav Bera

Goal in its end of season special analyses the performance of all the teams in India's top flight and in this piece, we focus on Shillong Lajong.

Shillong Lajong FC

Expectation : After a disappointing 2012-13 season where Thangboi Singto took charge midway and helped them steer away from relegation, fans kept their expectations low. With some inspired signings in the form of Cornell Glen and Uilliams Souza, besides retaining Minchol Son, Singto targeted a top half finish.

Result: Shillong Lajong finished sixth as he set out, with

Lajong have conceded the maximum
goals (37) among the top ten teams
in this season's I-League. 
 only a point separating them from the much vaunted fifth and fourth spot. They were a thoroughly entertaining side to watch, case in point being the nine goal thriller against Mohammedan Sporting which they somehow managed to win. Although they never looked to be chasing for the title, Lajong were one of the most consistent mid-table sides in the league.

The Coach : Singto who took over after the Desmond Bulpin debacle has been a good coach for Shillong Lajong in all respects. Right from choosing his foreign contingent very wisely to making the best use of his team, Singto has been at the top of his game.

A vocal presence on the touchline, a man of few excuses, he is always ready to accept his faults and deficiencies and work on it in earnest. Singto has also never hesitated in playing youth and also brought the best out of the talented Boithang Haokip.

Where it went wrong
: The lack of an established number one and playing Jibon Singh out of position alongside Minchol Son in defense meant that they let in goals aplenty. The flimsy defense was the chief reason that they failed to break into the top three as a lack of concentration often made them give away goals cheaply.

Top 3 Performances

1. Mumbai FC 2-3 Shillong Lajong FC

2. Shillong Lajong 2-1 Salgaocar FC

3. Shillong Lajong 3-0 Bengaluru FC

Top Player of the Season
Cornell Glen

Cornell Glen lit up the I-League with his repertoire of tricks

While Glen did finish up with 13 goals in the season, one short of the leading goalscorers Daryl Duffy and Sunil Chhetri, he managed to charm the Lajong faithful with his brilliant displays. He also managed to score a hat-trick against Mohammedan. Not only was he Lajong's primary goal threat, Glen was also equally instrumental in linking up play and creating opportunities for his team-mates at every opportunity.

Flop Player of the Season
Lalthuammawia Ralte

Ralte lacked the solidity between the sticks

Lack of an assured first choice goalkeeper was one of the reasons that Shillong conceded almost 1.6 goals every match. Ralte wasn't confident which showed in his performances. He often kept his own defenders bewildered by his decision making which needs to improve a lot. 

This is our best finish in the I-League so far. The biggest credit goes to my players."

- Thangboi Singto
(Shillong Lajong manager)