Shillong Lajong’s disappointing season ensued in what was the inevitable as they suffered relegation to a lower league after suffering a 4-1 hammering against Aizawl FC at the Rajiv Gandhi stadium in the Tripura capital on Monday.
Aizawl’s Liberian striker Ansumanah Kromah scored his seventh and eighth league goals while Mapuia helped himself to his sixth with Isak also getting onto the scoresheet late in the second half. Donbok then displayed the never-stop-attacking mindset of Shillong’s young group aptly in injury time, with a classy finish.
With 21 points from 19 games, Aizawl now gives themselves a realistic chance of finishing two better than their current eighth position.
Both coaches Stanley Rosario of Aizawl and Alison Kharsyntiew of Shillong made three changes each to their starting line-ups. Aizawl brought Gurpreet back in goal while Shillong started with Samuel Lalmuanpuia and Sheen Stevenson up front.
Aizawl dominated from the beginning. In the 28th minute, from a wonderful Isak cross from the right saw a header from Hmingthan Mawia blocked by Kenstar Kharsong in the Shillong defence.
In the 40th minute, however, Kenstar was adjudged to have brought down Kromah inside the box and referee Ibungo Meetei immediately pointed to the spot. Kromah converted without fuss.
The second half began as the first with Aizawl having the better possession and purpose with ideas. Mapuia’s advent in the 64th minute brought even more drive in the Aizawl attack.
Isak had a good chance to score in the 70th minute itself when the ball fell favourably for him near the top of the box but his volley went well over.
Paul picked up the first booking of the game in the 75th minute for Aizawl, a reflection of the intensity displayed on the day.
Mapuia, after missing a golden chance to double the lead for his side in the 76th minute, when keeper Chalieu did well to take him wide and thwart him in a one on one situation, did in fact, achieve his goal in the 81st minute.
It was Isak’s ball again into the box from the right, which fell invitingly for Mapuia who made no mistake to head home.
The third came two minutes later as Kromah got his second of the game. A Kenstar backpass to Chalieu went horribly wrong for the young keeper, as the Liberian poacher made him pay. It was Kromah’s eighth goal of the league season.
Isak finally got a well-deserved goal for himself and rounded up the tally with a strike after a brilliant solo square run along the box and then unleashing from the top of the box to bulge the Shillong net with a minute left of regulation time.