SHILLONG, Jan 13: Shillong Lajong FC had a good start to the New Year managing four points from the two home matches and will now face the challenge of table toppers Minerva Punjab FC on Sunday at the JN Stadium Shillong at 2:00 PM.
In their last two matches at home, Lajong played a goalless draw against Chennai City FC followed by a 1-0 win over the AIFF developmental side Indian Arrows which saw the best of the Reds this season dominating the game throughout the 90 minutes.
The match saw Lajong dictating the tempo of the game and having plenty of chances up front only to see the Arrows keeper and woodwork deny them. It was Abdoulaye Koffi who scored the sole goal of the match to keep home the three points. Lajong now firmly sits at 4th place with fourteen points from nine games.
The last time Shillong Lajong hosted the Punjab side at home was on 21st January 2017 and the result was in favour of the Reds with a score line of 2-1.
Lajong players and coaches have been working hard on training and are all set to collect maximum points from Sunday’s fixture.
Speaking about the match Lajong coach Bobby Nongbet said, “We will definitely be very happy to get three points on Sunday that too at our home, we are going to play an attacking game and I believe we will win the game.”
The Reds missed the services of their ever-reliable defensive duo of Juho and Laurence in the last match. Both the players have fought their injuries and will likely be available for Sunday’s game.
The coach will have a tough time while making his choice as the Academy products; Kynsai, Novin, Kenstar, Rakesh and Allen Lyngdoh were brilliant at the back to keep the Arrows attack shut in the last match.
Lajong is aware of the threat the visitors possess in terms of their attacking game play.
Bobby said, “Minerva is playing consistently well, and Chencho and William are performing very well. But, Chencho will be the one for whom we have to be very careful.”
“We had a different game plan for Arrows as they were very fast, and we have seen Minerva play and accordingly, we have a plan for Sunday’s game” he added.
Minerva Punjab, on the other hand, has surprised everyone as they are sitting at the top of the I-league table with 19 points from 8 matches.
In their last fixture, they managed to defeat Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan 2-1 courtesy Chencho scoring a brace.
Coach Khogen Singh said, “The team is high in morale and I am trying to keep up with this morale. The match is going to be tight, we plan to fight well. Psychologically, the boys are very tough.”
Speaking of the hosts he added, “It is going to be tough because Lajong is one of the good teams from the North East and for a couple years, they have been maintaining their performance, it is also their home game.”