Shillong, June 18: Newbies Mawkhar SC held Rangdajied United FC to a 1-1 draw in the fourth fixture of the OC Blue Shillong Premier League (SPL) 2021-22 at Third Ground, Polo, here on Saturday.
Bansanbha Khongsdam put Mawkhar into the lead in the 26th minute only for Chesterpaul Lyngdoh of Rangdajied to equalise three minutes later. The last match of the first round thus ended in this season’s first draw, with one point going to each team.
The 2019 runners-up Rangdajied, boasting of big name players like Chesterpaul Lyngdoh up front and Aiborlang Khongjee and Samuel Shadap at the back, started the stronger of the two sides.
A Khongjee header on target in only the fourth minute was saved with a good dive by the tall Mawkhar goalkeeper Banshanskhem Kharsyntiew to his right. There were a couple of unsuccessful set-pieces for Rangdajied early on as well before Mawkhar had their first chance with Aibanraplang Dohling just wide in the 10th minute.
With RUFC dominating, the opening goal by Mawkhar came against the run of play but was well-received by the club’s significant number of fans at the ground. Khongsdam grabbed his chance after an earlier shot by a team mate was blocked by Rangdajied goalie Aibormiky Suchiang. The rebound fell practically at Khongsdam’s feet and he struck it home.
Mawkhar thus had the lead in their very first OC Blue SPL match but it did not last long as Rangdajied came right back. Making a move forward, the ball fell to Lyngdoh on the right flank and he neatly wove his way past a defender before firing the ball low past Kharsyntiew.
Even if they were a little rough around the edges, Mawkhar played fast, attacking football and that kept Rangdajied unsettled until the half time whistle.
The Blues regrouped during the break and came out looking for the lead but their shots and crosses were off the mark for the most part. Wallambha Kharpran came closest as he struck the upright in the 81st minute, just seconds after he fluffed an easier chance.
It was a frustrating second 45 minutes for Rangdajied, who probably felt that they should have scored at least twice but Mawkhar’s young squad – drawn almost completely from the same bunch of lads who won the 2019 First Division title – held their heads up high after withstanding the pressure of an SPL debut.
The next match will take place on Tuesday between Mawlai SC and Shillong Lajong FC. Mawlai had won their opening game while Lajong narrowly lost theirs.