Dempo SC edges past Lajong FC in I-League

Shillong: Dempo SC edged past Shillong Lajong FC 2-1 today to see themselves comfortably at the top of the I-League table even as the match was declared short of three minutes after the crowd went berserk.

A deflection shot taken by Lajong`s new signing, Renedy Sing, brushed Tuboi`s body and put the home side ahead in the 81 minute of the game.

The visiting team rallied back to score the equaliser in the 88th and 90th minute through Ranti Martin.

Dempo boys did not display their potentials but match referee S S Panda gave them a double advantage in the 90th minute after Lajong defender Weilad was caught a hand-ball inside the box.

Ranti Martin of the visiting team took the first advantage when he shot the ball after Weilad`s handball.

The referee then offered the second advantage by gifting Dempo with a penalty, an act which did not go well among professionals and badly criticised by Lajong`s coach Pradyum Reddy.

Soon after the penalty was converted by Martin, the 23,000 odd football fans started throwing bottles and stones to the ground to protest, forcing the match commissioner Mrinal Kanti Roy to end the match three minutes during an injury time of four minutes.

At the post match conference, Reddy attributed crowd actions to bad refereeing.

"I can understand their frustrations. We tried to calm them down but we were disappointed to see the crowd behaving like that," Reddy said.

The Lajong coach blamed poor refereeing that cost his side today. "Unfortunately, it is clearly a poor refereeing on the part of the officials. They are incompetent and this has always been against a small team like us," he said.

According to Reddy, at least in the past three matches, refereeing in the I-League is "objectionable.

"Lajong`s man was given a red card against East Bengal, a penalty each was given to Churchill and Dempo in the last two matches respectively.”

Dempo`s coach was all praised for the Shillong Lajong. "Lajong played well today. In the first half, they were on the advantage. Cold has affected our rhythm and we could not cope up," Armando Colaco, coach of Dempo FC, said.

On the double advantage given by the match referee, he said, "It (penalty) was clearly a decision of the referee. We are happy to add three points to our kitty." Lajong will play Pune FC in their next home match on January 28.


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