SHILLONG, May 1: A hat-trick from Kitboklang Pale and one goal apiece from Dibinroy Nongspung and Donborlang Nongkynrih saw Langsning FC demolish Jamshedpur FC reserves 5-0 in their Group C Second Division League match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Tuesday.
Pale scored in the eighth, 45+2 and 65th minutes, while Nongspung headed in a corner in the 58th minute. Substitute Nongkynrih then added one more for good measure in the 89th minute to give the home side a smashing victory and move them into provisional top spot. Langsning now have 15 points, but Bengaluru FC reserves and TRAU FC (both on 14) have two games in hand.
Vicious rain fell in Shillong for most of the day, but the match itself was played under sunny skies.
It was a very different Langsning that the fans witnessed; although Langsning have won by good margins in a couple of away matches, their home form has left a lot to be desired but today the team played cohesively, with great awareness and communication for an excellent all-round performance.
Coach Hering Shangpliang made just one change from the starting XI that beat Bengaluru 3-0 away last week, swapping Ronaldkydon Lyngdoh Nonglait for Fullmoon Mukhim.
Pale was a constant danger right from the word go and sent a powerful left-footer just over the bar in the fifth minute to signal his attacking intentions. Kento Sakurai, nominally a midfielder but playing as a centre forward, then smashed the ball on target but straight into a defender. Jamshedpur countered immediately, but GouravMukhi, who was the biggest threat to the hosts, fired his shot well over the bar.
Pale’s first goal came when he had to muscle his way past a defender to get to a chip forward, but he did so successfully and aimed the ball perfectly past goalkeeper Harpreet Singh from a very tight angle.
Mukhi almost bagged the equaliser around ten minutes later but his effort was neatly blocked by Langsning goalie Surjay Kumar Pariyar. Jamshedpur would go close once again when BasetHansda struck the crossbar in the 24th minute.
The home team, who had beaten Jamshedpur 3-1 in the reverse fixture last month, finally got a bit more breathing space when Pale doubled the lead in stoppage time. MilancyKhongstia did the hard work by making a lovely run into the box from the right flank and all the unmarked Pale had to do was tap in the former’s short pass.
The Shillong club had never scored more than twice in any of their previous four home games, but they did not take their foot off the gas today.
Singh had to pull off a tremendous reaction swipe of the hand to deny Sakurai a handful of minutes after the restart, but there was nothing he could do to prevent Nongspung from scoring later on, when the No. 5 headed in a corner, which was his maiden goal of the Second Division.
Pale would go on to register his hat-trick in the 65th minute from close range. He now has six goals to his name and is by far and away the top scorer from his club. Perhaps his only glaring error on the day was that he missed a penalty in the 83rd minute, but after scoring three goals already that was forgivable.
Nongkynrih, just 10 minutes after he came on the pitch, then slotted in the final strike of the evening from a very tight angle while harried by a defender for his first goal of the tournament.
Langsning now have a significant break as their next and final fixture is on May 13 at TRAU. However, they may not have to wait that long to know whether they will qualify for the final round of the Second Division, as anything less than a win for Mohammedan Sporting on May 5 against TRAU will see the Shillong side through.