Those who came to the Ambedkar Stadium to watch the I-League match between Indian Arrows and Shillong Lajong were treated with a piece of footballing magic. The Arrows, a team that is largely made of the Indian U-17 team that played in the World Cup earlier in the year and the U-19 side, beat 10-man Lajong 3-0. The quality that the youngsters brought into the match something that is seen rarely in the I-League or indeed, Indian Super League. One part that stood out, though was the goal scored by Nongdamba Naorem.
Receiving the ball at the left flank, Naorem skipped past three Lajong players to get into the box. One more touch took him past the opposition centre-back and with just the keeper to beat. He did so by lasering the ball into the ball onto the net.
It was the 85th minute of the match when Naorem did that and the goal made the score 2-0 in favour of the Arrows. Naorem had come on as a substitute just 10 minutes before that. Rahul Kannoly scored another in stoppage time to help them walk away with a 3-0 victory. In the first half, 16-year-old Jitendra Singh gave Arrows the lead and became the youngest ever goalscorer in I-League history. The Arrows and Lajong have the youngest teams in the league. While Lajong had a fantastic start to the season, Arrows’ fortunes have only seen an upturn in recent matches.