Shillong: Relegated in the last edition, Shillong Lajong FC booked their berth in the I-League after piping Kolkata`s Mohammedan Sporting by a solitary goal to emerge champions in the second division, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Sports Complex on Friday.
With this win, Lajong topped the group with 16 points from seven matches.
Despite not playing at their best, Lajong were lucky to break the tie in the 53rd minute of the game when P Lalhlimthara`s flicker found the net.
The Black Panthers were in attack mode keeping the defence busy. Lajong defender Wailad Passah was later declared the Man of the Match.
In the first match, a determined Ar-Hima defeated Southern Samity 3-0 to keep alive their slender chances of qualifying.
Emmanuel Ini Oyoh scored twice for the winners, the first in the 7th minute and the second in the 43rd minute, while Zico Zoremsanga scored a goal in the 13th minute of the game.
The local outfit failed to capitalise as Southern Samity were reduced to ten men after referee Debaratan Meetei of Manipur gave the marching order to Tushim Mashangva for `abusing` him during the match.
The visitors took control of the game in the second half, leaving no room for Ar-Hima to penetrate into the rival`s zone.
Towards the fag end of the game, Ar-Hima`s Ambilstar Sun was also shown red card for showing tamper.
An alert Ar-Hima goalkeeper Vanlal Hruaia, who made some splendid saves in the second half, was declared the an of the Match.
Ar-Hima finished their engagements on 11 points, but having scored more goals than Vasco, United Sikkim and Sporting Clube de Goa, they still stand with a chance.
Sporting Clube de Goa are on 11 points, Vasco and Sikkim United both on 10 points each.
The second team to make it to the I-League will be decided tomorrow when Sporting Clube de Goa take on Royal Wahingdoh FC and United Sikkim FC meet Vasco SC.