Rangdajied United outplayed Mumbai Tigers to secure a stunning 3-1 victory in the second division I-League final round (first leg) here on Saturday.
The Shillong side delivered a surprisingly strong counterpunch after falling behind to N.P. Pradeep’s second-minute strike. Banshari Sunn levelled scores on the brink of half-time before goals from Abocha Singh and the excellent Ho Jun Shin delivered the win.
The outcome was nothing but deserved, Rangdajied fitter and more intense than the opponent through the game. The loss left Tigers in second place, trailing Mohammedan Sporting by one point.
The game had begun on a positive note for Tigers, Pradeep scoring the opening goal from just outside the area before the other side had even seen any of the ball.
Rangdajied woke up at once. The Korean Shin and his fellow striker Babatunde Ayomide had a couple of chances each immediately, but ’keeper Arup Debnath thwarted them.
Left-back Dapbor Bareh then rattled the upright from distance — his side hit the woodwork as many as four times on the day. Ayomide had two more headers from close range saved, the crosses from the fullbacks flying in thick and fast.
This sustained spell of pressure was bound to tell. A corner in the 44th minute was flicked on by Ayomide, before Sunn nodded in at the far post.
Rangdajied turned up the heat in the second half, finding space behind the Tigers defence regularly. Seven minutes in, Abocha, moments after drawing a fine save from Debnath, fired a shot from distance that slipped under the ’keeper.
Tigers pushed forward in search of the equaliser but was outnumbered every time, by a side quicker to both rush forward and drop back in support of the defence.
Nine minutes from time, Shin latched on to Bhola Prasad’s pass, and from over 25 yards out, curled a delightful ball into the net.
The result: Rangdajied United 3 (Banshari Sunn 44, Abocha Singh 53, Ho Jun Shin 81) bt Mumbai Tigers 1 (N.P. Pradeep 2).