SHILLONG, July 20: It seemed nearly impossible but Mawkhar SC pulled off a remarkable underdog performance to hold runaway leaders Mawlai SC to a 0-0 draw in their Shillong Premier League 2021-22 match at the MFA Turf, Polo Grounds, on Wednesday.
Both sides experienced contrasting fortunes coming into the match.
Mawkhar claimed a point in their first game but went on to lose all four of their remaining fixtures, while Mawlai have been the standout performers – winning all five games without conceding a single goal. Both clubs were promoted from the 2019 First Division, which Mawkhar won.
The draw brought an end to Mawlai’s winning streak, though their run of clean sheets continues. The result also ended Mawkhar’s losing streak but they still remain at the bottom of the table and are searching for their first win.
Mawlai did not take their opponents lightly and fielded a full-strength team but they appeared rattled in the first half and their frustration at being unable to break the deadlock only increased as the match wore on.
They made their intentions clear in the very first minute when they won a corner but failed to convert.
Restorewell Marbaniang then demonstrated Mawkhar’s intent not to be rolled over with a blistering left-footer from long range that tested Mawlai’s Neithovilie Chalieu but the goalkeeper tipped the ball onto the crossbar and out for a corner.
In the 36th minute, Aibiangmame Nongneng beautifully wove his way into the Mawlai box and, following on from this, Charles Lyngdoh took a shot which left everyone on the Mawkhar bench thinking had gone in but the ball grazed the outside part of the net.
Apart from one missed opportunity, Mawlai did not have a good outing in the first half but started stronger in the second.
Samuel Lyngdoh Kynshi made a good run in the 57th minute but Mawkhar’s defenders tracked back and blocked his attempt. Goalkeeper Widenstar Kharsati then saved a Wanboklang Lyngkhoi header and Balapynshai Nengnong stuck out a left boot to deny Pynbha Suting.
On and on Mawlai kept coming forward and by this stage Mawkhar would have been happy to take a point.
Increasingly desperate, Mawlai’s efforts proved more wayward, such as the 80th minute header that went wide by Donald Diengdoh, something he would have scored off any other time.
With so many Mawkhar players needing medical attention, the stretcher bearers were given a real workout and nine minutes of stoppage time were signalled by the fourth official but it made no difference to the scoreline as Mawkhar held on for their second point of the Shillong Premier League.
Thursday’s fixture will see third-placed Langsning FC (10 points) face fourth-placed Ryntih SC (9 points) at 4 pm.
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