Shillong: Shillong Lajong crushed  East Bengal 5-1 on their home turf to inflict the worst defeat for Red & Gold Brigade in NFL/I League at Jawharlal Nehru Stadium here on Saturday, courtesy a hat-trick from man of the Match Cornell Glen.

With this loss East Bengal finished in the fourth position while Shillong Lajong climbed to 9th position garnering 23 points and thereby avoiding relegation.

Besides Glen, Seiminlen Doungel and Zodingliana contributed to Lajong’s goal fest, while Cavin Lobo scored what proved to be a little meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

Zodingliana looked like the best of the home team’s players early on and was involved in thick of the action throughout his stint on the field before being substituted with just a few minutes left on the clock. Besides his second hat-trick of the season, Glen assisted with the first goal, setting up Zoding with a perfect forward pass that the Mizoram player slotted past East Bengal goalkeeper Luis Xavier Barreto.

The hosts must have been wary of Ranti Martins and Dudu Omagbemi going into the game, but the Nigerians were kept at bay and the visitors had to rely on a fine combination by Robert Lalthlanumna and Lobo for the equaliser in the 32nd minute, negating Zoding’s 20th minute strike.

Lalthlanumna cut the ball back nicely for Lobo, who spun around and fired the ball into the back of the net from outside the box.

That silenced the fans, who turned out in good numbers to support Lajong, but they were reenergised just a couple of minutes into the second half when Glen retook the lead for SLFC, thanks to a rebound off an EB player that fell into his lap, providing him the perfect chance to hammer the ball home.

His other two entries on the scoresheet were in the 75th and 80th minutes, getting ahead of the defenders to score with his right boot in the former and heading the ball to make it 5-1 in the latter.

Before this, Seiminlen Doungel proved to be the super substitution of the game after scoring a brilliant goal just two minutes after coming on the field for Uilliams Souza Silva. The No 10, who had a terrible time in the last game against Pune FC, redeemed himself with a sprint up the left flank and firing the ball on the run from a very tight angle.

It was a thoroughly emotional game for the players and the victory was one that every fan must have been praying for. The Red & Gold brigade would have had a shot at third place in the final standings had they won the game, but they were completely blitzed in the second half, unable to put up much of a fight.

From the scoreline one might almost imagine the visitors to have been the lower-ranked team, but that just goes to prove the Hero I-League’s unpredictable and fascinating nature, with Lajong triumphant today.

Shillong Lajong XI: Kunzung Bhutia,Aibor Khongjee,Min Chol Son,Khelemba Singh,Robin Gurung,Zodiangliana Ralte (David KC-88′),Boithang Haokip (Durga Boro-61′),Milan singh,Penn Orji,Ulliams Bomfin (SemilenDoungel-69′),Cornell Glenn
East Bengal  FC XI: Luis Barreto,Abhishek Das,Arnab Mondal,Gurwinder Singh,Robert Lalthalmuana (Raju Gaikwad-61′),Leo Bertos,Mehtab Hossein,Cavin Lobo,Harmanjot Singh Khabra (Joaquim Abranches-64′),Dudu Omagbemi,Ranti Martins

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