Shillong Lajong FC will host Kolkata Outfit Kingfisher East Bengal in the final game of the season on the 30th of May, Saturday at the JN Stadium at 4:30pm. After all the ups and downs of the season it has all come down to this final frontier for The Reds to finally secure I-League football for next season.
It may have been a disappointing season for Shillong Lajong FC, but there have been the odd 6-0 victory, the dominating home game performances and the unlucky losses that has dented the team’s morale as well as their run up to finish higher up the table than where they are at present. Such was the manner of their last two home defeats that left everybody on the Red corner despised over lady luck. Lajong are forced to stare down the barrels of a relegation dog fight. It is fair to say neither the players, management nor the Lajong faithful would be demoted to such a fear if the results in those crucial games would have favoured The Reds but that is the beauty of the game. Football is beyond anybody’s control and even though performance is key, the end result is final.
The Red Brigade of Lajong faithful have been flooding the ever packed Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the city to voice their concerns but most importantly to show their support for their beloved team. If there is anything to play for besides league safety in the final encounter of the season, it most definitely will be for the vociferous Lajong supporters indeed.
Speaking at a pre match press conference in the city today, Thangboi Singto said, “I think tomorrow will be the most important match of the season, no doubt. There’s no one to blame for the situation we are in but myself and the team but tomorrow is a final chance for redemption. Saying that, we are playing a team with a very experienced coach and experienced players and we have to be at the best that we can tomorrow and hope that the result favour us.”
Lajong have been dominant in their previous two matches yet have not been able to secure a win in either match. Thangboi Singto added, “Against Sporting Club De Goa we were a bit unlucky, we made some silly judgements on the field and against Pune we created a lot of chances but could not convert. I don’t believe in luck, you have to make your own luck but sometimes a ball hitting could have gone in and been another story. We have to play as hard as we can and as best as we can.”
East Bengal on the other hand going into the match with relatively very less pressure have a chance of finishing third in the league even though Eelco Schattorie was “in the right place at the wrong time”. The East Bengal coach added, “East Bengal has a good squad but there would be some adjustments that I would like to make at the beginning of the season. It is almost impossible to put my magic into the team within three months and try to make them champions. ”
Shillong Lajong will have a tough task on their hands to contain the East Bengal strike partnership of Ranti Martins and Dudu upfront but would have been boosted by the return of club captain Aibor Khongjee. Aibor who has missed a good run of matches would also be joined back by striker Uilliams Souza Silva after the Brazilian missed the last match against Pune FC due to a suspension.
East Bengal on the other hand have only one injury concern in Gurwinder Singh but the central defender is more or less “likely to play” says the East Bengal coach.
Shillong Lajong are in the 9th position with 20 points from 19 games only a point ahead of Dempo SC and would have to win to secure top flight football or at least better the result from the outcome of the Dempo SC match against Salgaocar.
Will Thangboi’s Men Survive the Scare? For that the Lajong Faithfuls need to make the walk or drive down to Polo and witness the action – The Final Showdown!