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I-League: Rajasthan United share spoils with Shillong Lajong, Mohammedan win

Daniel Goncalves became Shillong Lajong's saviour with a last-minute goal securing a 1-1 draw against Rajasthan United, while Mohammedan Sporting claimed a commanding lead at the top with a 2-1 victory over Sreenidi Deccan.

I-League: Rajasthan United share spoils with Shillong Lajong, Mohammedan win

Mohammedans beat Sreenidi Deccan


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 18 Dec 2023 6:44 AM GMT

In a thrilling encounter at the Deccan Arena in Hyderabad on Sunday, December 3, 2023, Daniel Goncalves etched his name in Shillong Lajong's history as the decisive savior. The defender's last-minute heroics, a stunning goal, secured a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Rajasthan United in the I-League 2023-24.

Meanwhile, at the Naihati Stadium, Mohammedan Sporting showcased their dominance, clinching a 2-1 victory over Sreenidi Deccan and solidifying their commanding lead at the summit of the table.

Shillong Lajong shares spoils with Rajasthan United

Daniel Goncalves emerged the saviour for Shillong Lajong as the defenderโ€™s last-minute goal helped his side secure a 1-1 draw in the I-League 2023-24 match against Rajasthan United at the Deccan Arena in Hyderabad on Sunday, December 3, 2023.

Lajong came into the match on the back of three consecutive wins against Gokulam Kerala FC, Delhi FC and TRAU FC. Along with the Mohammedan Sporting, they were the only side to remain unbeaten in the I-League. The draw meant that their unbeaten streak remained intact. Lajong occupy the fourth spot in the standings with 13 points from seven matches with three wins and four draws.

For Rajasthan United FC, this match was a missed opportunity. Before this game, they had experienced a challenging phase. They lost two matches and drew one in their last three outings. This match offered a chance for them to return to winning form and better their position of 12th in the points table.

Rajasthan United took the lead in the 9th minute with an impressive goal. Rajasthan United could have extended the lead in the 33rd minute. Jefferson Deโ€™oliveira headed a corner in the path of Gadze. However, Lama came off his line to avert the danger before Gadze could connect with the ball.

As the match approached its climax, the pressure seemed to affect the Rajasthan United defenders, leading them to concede a free-kick on the left flank. Hardy Cliff Nongbri capitalised on this opportunity, delivering a well-placed, floating ball into the area. Daniel Goncalves, managed to head the ball into the goal, despite facing away from it.

Mohammedan Sporting defeat Sreenidi Deccan

Mohammedan Sporting beat Sreenidi Deccan 2-1 to take a commanding lead at the top of the table, in their I-League 2023-24 game at the Naihati Stadium on Sunday, December 3, 2023.

With 19 points from seven matches, the Black and White Brigade are now the lone leaders in the points table, while Sreenidi remain on 16 after eight outings. As expected, Mohammedan started the game at breakneck speed on their home turf, constantly putting the Sreenidi defence under pressure, albeit without really creating much in terms of chances. They almost paid for it, when Sreendi capitalised on a break to create the first real chance of the game.

Three minutes later though Mirjalol Kasimov made sure it didnโ€™t matter. The Uzbek drifted in from the left, played a one-two with Gomez before dribbling to the top of the box and unleashing a perfectly targeted shot into the bottom corner. The crowd were in raptures and Mohammedan had the lead they had craved.

Eddie Hernandez doubled that lead on the hour mark with a brilliantly powered header after Remsanga and Vanlalzuidikaโ€™s interplay saw the latter put a lofted cross into the box. Mohammedan seemed to be cruising to a three-point lead over their rivals with a game in hand.

But it wasnโ€™t as simple as that. Sreenidi Deccanโ€™s William Alves converted a penalty for the visitors in the 84th minute after Lalbiakliana was hacked down inside the box by Mohamed Irshad. It led to a heated end to the game, Sreenidi pushing for an equaliser and Mohammedan desperate to hang on. The chance did fall, and it fell to Alves from an Abhishek Ambekar cross, deep in injury time. He headed it high. Mohammedan were relieved to take full points.

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