Shillong Lajong FC made the best use of their home advantage in the 2023-24 I-League on Sunday, November 19, when they shocked former champions Gokulam Kerala FC 3-1 at the SSA Stadium.
While it was Shillong Lajong’s first win in the four matches they have played so far, Gokulam Kerala suffered their first defeat of the season. Having left the stadium empty-handed, the Kerala side are stuck in second place in the points table with 10 matches from five matches. Mohammedan Sporting, who won on Saturday, continue to top the table with 13 points from five outings.
Displaying an impressive performance in front of partisan fans, Shillong Lajong FC took the lead with a clinical header from Daniel Goncalves in the 29th minute. He made the most of a free kick from the left by skipper Hardy Cliff Nongbri, lanky Goncalves jumped to beat the defence and head the ball to the corner of the net.
Gokulam Kerala managed to level the score a couple of minutes before half time. Off a combined move, in which captain Alex Sanchez played a major role, Francisco Perdomo finished it off in style.
If Gokulam Kerala were toying with the idea of going home with at least one point, it suffered a jolt in the 75th minute because of their own undoing. As they conceded a penalty, Renan Paulino confidently struck the ball into the left side of the net.
Breaking the deadlock in the 75th minute with a penalty, Shillong Lajong FC regained the lead as Renan Paulino confidently struck the ball into the left side of the net. The final nail in the visitors’ coffin was hammered well into the add-on time by Hardy when he took the issue beyond doubt scoring the third goal for his team. The winners now have taken their points tally to six from four matches.
Shillong Lajong FC will face Delhi FC on November 22 at 2pm at the SSA Stadium, Shillong, while Gokulam Kerala FC will host Churchill Brothers at the EMS Corporation Stadium, Kozhikode, on November 26.