Lajong qualify for Fed Cup semis; Bagan, Churchill out
Pune: Shillong Lajong today qualified for the semifinals of the Federation Cup football tournament after defeating Royal Wahingdoh by a solitary goal here today.
John Meyongar scored the all-important goal in the 43rd minute in the Group A match at the Balewadi Sports Complex.
Lajong were handed a favour by Mohun Bagan who came back from a goal down to hold Churchill Brothers 2-2 in another Group A match here.
Lajong and Wahingdoh -- both from Meghalaya – finished their engagements on six points but the former went through to the semifinals on head-to-head count.
Needing just a draw to make it to the semifinals, Wahingdoh lost the plot against their Shillong city rivals.
Lajong could have won by a better margin had not striker Iyikwobe Chizoza muffed a penalty in the 63rd minute. The penalty was awarded after John was brought down in the box by Kareem Nurian. Nurain got marching orders from the referee.
But Lajong failed to take advantage of their numerical superiority as Wahingdoh went all out in the attack.
Wahingdoh`s best chance came in the 77th minute when Chenco, all in the clear, failed to beat rival custodian Lalthuammawia Ralte.
In the other match of the day, Churchill needed to beat Mohun Bagan to reach the semifinals but the draw saw Lajong through to the last four.
After Henri Arnaud had put Churchill ahead in the 23rd minute, Bagan scored two goals within a span of three minutes -- first by Jose Ramirrez Baretto heading in Jewel Raja`s corner in the 41st minute and then Sunil Chhetri blasting it home in the 44th minute.
Changing over, Henri scored his second goal of the match in the 59th minute to make it 2-2. Churchill did go all out for a third goal but it never came.
Churchill finished on four points from three matches while Bagan ended their campaign on one point.