CUTTACK: It was heartbreak for DSK Shivajians as Shillong Lajong FC scored a last minute winner to beat DSK Shivajians by a margin of 2-3. With two goals by Halicharan Narzary on the 64th and 86th minute,  Alen Deory scored in the 49th minute, while Redeem Tlang and Samuel Lalmuanpuia scored on the 68th and the 90+2nd minute for Shillong Lajong FC.

Dave Rogers opted to start with the Same XI that beat Bengaluru FC under 48 hours ago, with the Englishman re-iterating his faith in the youth as he started with 6 U-22 players in his Lineup. With two changes on the Bench, Lalhriatpuia Chhangte and Lalawmpuia were dropped in favour of Halicharan Narzary and Sanju Pradhan.

The game started off lacking the intensity seen in the 7 PM Kick-Offs, owing majorly to the extreme weather conditions present in Cuttack, Orissa as well as this being the players third game in 5 days. Vishal Kaith did however get into the action early on in the Shillong Lajong FC goal, gathering a Kim Song-Yong worked attack on the 6th minute. Moments later Vishal Kaith saved a Lallianzuala Chhangte shot, a battle that would go on to change the game in the coming moments. With Kaith confidently catching everything in and around his six yard box, Shillong Lajong were making inroads into the DSK Shivajians defensive area, with Redeem and Rupert combining beautifully on occasion. The highlight of the half was, however, the injury to Kim Song-Yong, who landed awkwardly to have his knee stuck in the turf. The Big North Korean, who has only just returned to full fitness after an ACL injury was stretchered off, leading to a change in emphasis for Dave Rogers’ boys. The 31st minute saw another great run by Mawihmingthanga, only for his shot to be matched by an equally good save by Vishal Kaith. The closest both sides came to goal was on the 41st minute, as Lallianzuala Chhangte cut past two defenders to beat the keeper, only to be denied by not one but both the posts. The half ended with a flurry of action, with a number of DSK Shivajians attempts being blocked. It however, ended at 0-0.

The second half started with Shillong Lajong displaying something of an oomph factor about their game. This resulted in them opening the scoring on the 49th minute, with Alen Deory backheeling the ball into an unguarded net after a series of headers in the box. DSK Shivajians had an immediate response, with Juan Quero going free on goal, but claims for a penalty were denied by the referee as the Spaniard appeared to have been pulled back. Seconds later, Lallianzuala Chhangte’s shot was again blocked by the tall keeper from Himachal Pradesh in Lajong’s goal. The 55th minute saw Mawihmingthanga clear in on goal. His shot was however blocked by Shadap. With five back to back attacks finding Lallianzual Chhangte clear in on goal, it was Vishal Kaith who came out on top every time with the young Mizo attacker getting increasingly frustrated. A change in the player in attack however, led to a change in result for DSK Shivajians when Halicharan Narzary who came on for Vanlalremkima found himself a yard of space in the box to finally level the score. The side from Pune, however, found themselves on the receiving end of a sucker punch as Redeem Tlang pounced on a fumble by Subrata Paul to put the Meghalayan side 2-1 ahead. With DSK Shivajians again moving into attack mode, Lallianzuala Chhangte finally got the better of Vishal Kaith as he cut past the keeper only to be brought down, and denied a clear goal scoring opportunity with the keeper subsequently sent off.

With Lajong parking the proverbial bus, it was a moment of magic that saw Halicharan Narzary turn his man and score from 30 yards out to put DSK Shivajians level. A goal any striker would have been proud of, Narzary justified his manager’s faith in him. With a win taking them through, DSK Shivajians threw bodies forward. This however, backfired as Samuel Lalmuanpuia found himself in the clear on the last minute of added time to coolly slot it past Subrata Paul. The result did not tell the tale of the match, with DSK Shivajians going down to Shillong Lajong by a margin of two goals to three to end their campaign with three points from as many games.

“We played really well against a really good team. Sometimes in football, when you play against ten men, it becomes a little more difficult on the counter attack. Having said that, I’m proud of my players, they’ve been outstanding and have given their 110%  on and off the field all season.” said Dave Rogers, First Team Manager, DSK Shivajians.

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