Shillong Lajong held Mohun Bagan to a 1-1 draw in a crucial I-League encounter on Thursday at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata. Dipanda Dicka gave Bagan the lead in the 12th minute but Samuel Lalmuanpuia restored parity in the match at the 72nd minute. Both the goals were scored from the penalty spot.
Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen dropped both Sony Norde and Ansumana Kromah from the 18-man squad, with the duo carrying injuries from their previous game against Churchill Brothers.
Abhishek Das replaced injured right back Arijit Bagui while Shilton D’Silva came in place of Yuta Kinowaki, who had dislocated his shoulder in the previous game. Dipendu Dowary was fielded in the left flank as a replacement of Norde and Naro Hari Shrestha started upfront alongside Dipanda Dicka.
Lajong boss Bobby Lyngdoh Nongbet made just one change in the starting XI from their previous game. Yemen’s Aiman Al-Hagri replaced Lalrohlua.
Bagan took control of the game right from the kickoff. They had a chance to score the opening goal as early as in the second minute of the game. Dipendu Dowary curled a free-kick into the box. Dipanda Dicka attempted a back volley from it but the ball went way above the crossbar.
However, the home side took just 12 minutes to break the deadlock, with Dipanda Dicka scoring from the penalty spot. Faiaz chased a long ball from Kinshuk Debnath inside the Lajong box, but before the winger could reach the ball, Lajong’s Rakesh Pradhan committed a foul and conceded the penalty. Dicka calmly found the back of the net against his old team.
Lajong could have restored parity in the 22nd minute but thanks to a brilliant save from Shilton Paul, the scoreline remained unchanged. The away side played numerous passes inside the Bagan penalty box before skipper Lamuanpuia attempted a curling shot. Shilton dived towards his left to push the ball above cross bar for a corner.
The away coach made his first substitution at the beginning of the second half. Samuel Lyngdoh Kynshi was introduced in place of Alen Deory. Lajong, hungry for an equaliser, attacked in numbers from the beginning of the second half.
But Mohun Bagan striker Dipanda Dicka could have doubled his tally and his team’s lead in the 56th minute when he found himself one on one with Lajong custodian Lalchenpa from Raynier Fernandes’ through ball. But the striker fluffed his lines, much to the dismay of the home fans.
Sanjoy Sen introduced Nikhil Kadam replacing Naro Hari Shrestha. Kadam’s introduction enhanced Bagan’s wing play as Dipendu Dowary moved in to a more central role.
But Lajong restored parity in the match in the 72nd minute after Aiman Al-Hagri was brought down inside the penalty box by Bagan defender Kinshuk Debnath. Skipper Lalmuanpuia found the back of the net from the spot.
Bagan’s woes continued even after conceding the goal as their star defender Eze Kingsley was sent off in the 73rd minute. The defender committed a terrible foul on Lalmuanpuia and the referee did not hesitate to flash a second yellow and gave him the marching orders.
Dipanda Dicka got yet another chance five minutes before regulation time but failed to score past Lachenpa.
It was a disappointing day for the Kolkata giants who dropped two crucial points at home. Sony Norde and Ansumana Kromah’s absence was clearly felt by Sanjoy Sen's side. For Lajong, Laurence Doe had a great day in office. The defender made sure that Dipanda Dicka was kept silent for majority of the match.