I-League 2017: Shillong Lajong 1-1 Mohun Bagan - Fatigued Mariners go top of the table in spite of sordid showing
Shillong Lajong were absolutely dominating but were forced to share the spoils with Mohun Bagan...

Shillong Lajong played out a 1-1 stalemate against championship chasers Mohun Bagan at the Jawaharlal Stadium in Shillong on Wednesday. 

Substitute Jeje Lalpekhlua's strike in the 75th minute was cancelled out almost instantly by Aser Dipanda's penalty in the 78th minute, to leave the scores deadlocked at 1-1. 

Mohun Bagan named an unchanged lineup from the side that beat East Bengal in Siliguri with Balwant Singh and Darryl Duffy starting upfront and youngster Azharuddin Mullick providing the width down the right. 

Thangboi Singto made one change as he replaced Rupert Nongrum with Redeem Tlang while Fabio Pena was still relegated to the bench with Dipanda the farthest man forward. 

The Reds looked intent on coming away with all three points but Debjit Majumder had other ideas as he pulled off at least a couple of smart saves before eventually being beaten from the spot.

As for the Mariners who were fresh off a win against eternal rivals, East Bengal - the less said about their performance, the better - as they huffed and puffed throughout the match with obvious signs of tiredness. 

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Shillong Lajong FC Mohun Bagan I-League 2017

While Shillong ran Mohun Bagan out of the park with neat, short and crisp passes - the away side was often guilty of aimlessly hoofing the ball forward and mostly in vain. Even their otherwise bailout package - Sony Norde - looked lacklustre both on and off the ball. 

The home side who were camped in the opposition half from the get go saw Dipanda force Debjit to a save off an acrobatic bicycle kick from inside the box in the 11th minute. 

In the 17th minute, Redeem Tlang, who scored the winning goal against DSK Shivajians, came out with an absolute belter from outside the box but Debjit was up to the task as he palmed the ball onto the crossbar and out at full stretch. 

Dipanda had a chance to shoot from the left within a couple of minutes but could not go past Debjit who looked to be in his element. 

In the 27th minute, lax defending from Pritam Kotal saw Sana sneak into the box down the left but Anas Edathodika came in with a last ditch tackle to save the day for his team.

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Mohun Bagan finally carved out an attempt following Pritam Kotal's neat cross from the right which saw Azharuddin hit it across the face of the goal but Vishal Kaith pulled off a save.

Balwant Singh was at the end of another Kotal cross but his header was somehow palmed out by Kaith as well. 

As the away side slowly tried to claw their away into the match, Sony Norde saw his shot from inside the box strike the hand of Sana but the referee was not interested and waved play on. 

Prabir Das's introduction in the second half saw Mohun Bagan look more livelier down the right but they seemed to be all at sea in midfield with Yuto Kinowaki dominating the proceedings. 

Sehnaj Singh saw his shot on the half-volley from just on the edge of the box go straight to the grateful hands of Kaith. 

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Samuel Shadap Sony Norde Shillong Lajong FC Mohun Bagan I-League 2017

Jeje Lalpekhlua needed about six minutes from being brought on to make a difference as he ran onto a perfectly weighted long ball from Sehnaj before taking a touch and chipping it over an onrushing Kaith in the 75th minute. 

However, their lead lasted merely two minutes as Lajong substitute Fabio Pena saw his shot strike Eduardo's arm and earned his side a penalty which Dipanda slotted in to score his tenth goal of the season.

Mohun Bagan looked to seize the win in the dying moments with Yusa Katsumi and Sehnaj Singh both having opportunities but shot straight at Kaith. 

The draw takes Mohun Bagan to the top of the table, tied on points with Aizawl FC but with a better head to head record.

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