Imphal, Jan 24: Shillong Lajong FC rode on early goals to stun Neroca FC 2-0 in an I-League match here on Wednesday.
Saihou Jagne (13th minute) and Abdoulaye Koffi (18th) struck for the visitors who registered their fifth win of the season.
Shillong are now at the fourth spot with 17 points from 12 matches. They sit just ahead of fifth placed Mohun Bagan who have amassed 16 points from 10 matches. Neroca remain second with 21 points from 11 matches.
They trail table toppers Minerva Punjab FC by a single point. Minerva however, have played only nine matches. Third placed East Bengal are on 19 points after losing Sunday’s Kolkata derby against arch-rivals Mohun Bagan.
Wednesday’s loss brought Neroca’s impressive nine-game unbeaten run to an end. Neroca started brightly and showed intent when Subash Singh outfoxed Laurence Doe before forcing Shillong goalkeeper Nidhin Lal to a very good save.
However, it were the visitors who broke the deadlock against the run of play.
Saihou Jagne opened his account in the I-League when he controlled a long ball from Rakesh Pradhan before slotting it past a helpless Neroca goalkeeper Shambu Mishtry to put Shillong ahead.
The visitors struck another blow five minutes later through Koffi.
Novin Gurung’s cross was headed into the net by the Ivorian striker to double his side’s lead with a lot of the first-half left to play.
Neroca coach Gift Raikhan reacted to the double blow by replacing Rold Singh with David Lalbiakzara in the 28th minute, but Lajong continued to domite. Jagne only needed to beat Mishtry to notch up his brace at the half-hour mark, but the custodian was quick to come off his line and collect the ball before the Gambian striker could launch a shot at goal.
Nedo Turkovic looked to have given the home side hope when he put the ball into the back of the net off a free-kick after the restart but the goal was disallowed as he was adjudged to have used his arm to guide the ball in.
Nidhin Lal landed awkwardly as he kept out Subash Singh’s effort in the 53rd minute but was back up on his feet in no time as Lajong displayed incredible fighting spirit to hold on to their two-goal lead. (IANS)