Rangdajied United FC reach  semifinals after  deafting Nangkiew Irat SC 2-1 in the SPL 2023

Shillong, April 22: Rangdajied United FC became the first club to book their place in the semifinals of the Shillong Premier League 2023 after a thrilling 2-1 victory over Nangkiew Irat SC at the SSA Stadium at First Ground, Polo, here today.

Ieitlang Syiemlieh (45’) gave the lead to Rangdajied but a screamer from Flavius Lalruatkima (77’) brought the two sides level again. A winner was then scored in the second minute of stoppage time by substitute Wanlamsuk Nongkhlaw.

With a full 15 points from five matches played, Rangdajied are guaranteed to finish in the Top 4 once the round robin stage of SPL 2023 concludes. Right now, though, RUFC are thinking of nothing less than first place, which they comfortably occupy. The first half was a little pedestrian but it did have its entertaining moments.

Rangdajied’s Tremiki Lamurong started proceedings by hitting the upright in the ninth minute followed by a strong shot by team mate Aenam Jyrwa to Nangkiew Irat goalkeeper Vanlalhruata Chhangte. Balamlynti Khongjee also had an attempt but the RUFC captain aimed it straight to Vanlalhruata again.

Orestarwell Langshiang’s 39th minute attempt was arguably Rangdajied’s best. Although he had yellow shirts available to pass to, he decided to take the shot on from distance after spotting the keeper off his line.

Vanlalhruata managed to pedal back and, though he almost carried the ball over the line, he had enough presence of mind to push it slightly in front of him and then collect it once he had regained his footing.

Nangkiew Irat only really had one good opportunity in the first half and it was not even on target – Abhishek Verma blazing the ball over the crossbar in the 36th minute.

Rangdajied would go into the break with the lead, with Ieitlang skipping his way past a lead-footed defender after meeting a long ball. He then struck it from a tight angle to beat Vanlalhruata.

Nangkiew Irat appeared to be a different side in the second half as they tried to hustle their opponents, who seemed to be quite content with the solitary goal.

Shaiborlang Nongrum had a look-in 10 minutes into the action but, though he was able to muscle his way past a defender, he could not beat the onrushing Rangdajied goalie Banshanskhem Kharsyntiew.

Two chances then fell to Wanpynshngain Nongsteng. More of a defensive winger, he was up the pitch for a corner. He proved to be a little indecisive with the first opportunity, passing when he should have taken a shot, and then headed a second chance straight to the RUFC custodian.

The equaliser came about through a free-kick. Quite a distance from the box, most people would have expected Lalruatkima to chip the ball for a team mate but he took a deep breath and went for goal instead, scorching the ball into the top part of the net.

That pushed Rangdajied into overdrive and they were able to snatch victory just in time. A free-kick this time went into the crowd of players, there was an appeal for offside by Nangkiew Irat but Balamlynti was able to take a shot that deflected off the keeper and Wanlamsuk pounced and put it across the line.

Overall, it was a positive performance from Nangkiew Irat and they could have perhaps won had they played as intensely in the first half as they did in the second. This is a fourth straight defeat for them and they remain in seventh place. They are tied with Nongthymmai SC on 3 points but are behind based on head-to-head.

Tomorrow promises another good match between the second- and third-placed teams, defending champions Mawlai SC and Shillong Lajong FC, who will face off at 3:15pm.



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