| An aerial tussle during the match between Shillong Lajong FC (in red) and United Sikkim FC in Shillong on Thursday. Picture by UB Photos |
Shillong, Aug. 30: The match between Shillong Lajong FC and United Sikkim FC to book a place in the final of the North East Lajong Super Series was played on a Thursday, but it was Friday all the way.
Lajong’s new recruit Friday Gbeneme scored a hattrick to hand down a 3-0 defeat to Bhaichung Bhutia’s side at the Jawaharlal Nehru sports complex here this afternoon.
The victory ensured that Lajong would play against Wellington Phoenix in Saturday’s final of the super series. The final will also be played at the same venue from 3.15pm.
While two goals were scored in the first half (8th and 14th minutes), the 27-year-old Nigerian striker completed his hattrick in the 63rd minute of the match.
Friday had also scored a brace during Lajong’s 2-5 defeat to Wellington Phoenix at Imphal on August 26.
An Indonesia-born footballer, Friday had scored 12 goals in 19 appearances during his stint with Mumbai FC in the 2011-12 I-League.
Lajong coach Desmond Bulpin lauded his boys for putting up a good show. He also had special words of praise for Friday, and believed that the striker would score not less than 20 goals in the upcoming I-League.
“We still need to gel as a unit although this match provided us with an opportunity to test the players,” Bulpin said.
United Sikkim coach Phillippe De Ridder commended Lajong’s performance but said his team had missed the services of many important players.
“Another point to be noted is the fact that the team had come together just two weeks ago. Hence, there was little time for us to prepare well,” he said.