A buoyant Shillong Lajong FC are looking to make it three home wins in a row when they take on Hero I-League debutants Chennai City FC at the JN Stadium, Shillong, on Tuesday. The match kicks off at 4:30pm.
Lajong have well and truly put the opening three away defeats behind them with 2-1 and 3-1 victories following at home against Minerva Punjab FC and Mumbai FC respectively with the young squad starting to gel nicely.
Although Chennai City are playing their first season of top flight Indian football, Lajong coach Thangboi Singto is not taking the visitors lightly and the Reds will look to take full advantage of playing in home conditions backed by the Lajong Faithfuls and claim a further three points, which will consolidate their position in the top half of the table.
“At the start of the season the team needed time to gel and that has started to show. Since playing Minerva we have progressed and are in better shape and position to face Chennai. We have created more chances, but we also need to convert more of them because if you don’t take those opportunities it will cost you in the end,” Singto said at the pre-match press conference here today.
Having faced Mumbai on Saturday, there has been little time for the team to recuperate from their exertions, but the gaffer noted that Chennai have had it even more difficult, playing their last match at home on the same day before leaving for Shillong on Sunday.
“Chennai may be newbies in the league but they have very experienced players. Conceding has been our bane in past seasons as well – we score goals but give away almost as many. We are working on that and I expect the players to play consistently tomorrow in what will be a tough match,” Singto added.
Lajong are currently in fifth position on six points, while their opponents are ninth with four points. The Southern team’s last fixture saw them win for the first time, beating Aizawl FC 2-0 in Chennai, and their coach Robin Raja is taking the season match by match.
“Our squad was finalised only in December and five players arrived just before our first game, but as the matches have progressed the team is coming together and the win against Aizawl was what we needed,” Raja said at the media interaction, adding, “I expect more consistency from our players as the season goes on.”
Also present at the press conference was Lajong defender Chinglensana Singh, who scored the Reds’ third goal in the game against Mumbai, which was his second in the I-League.
Asked by a member of the press about Lajong’s inability to keep a clean sheet in any of their five outings so far, he said, “It was very unfortunate to lose our first three games. At home we have been sharper, but the target is to keep a clean sheet and our gaffer has been working on us to do that. It was good to get a goal last game, but as a defender it’s more important to keep a clean sheet.”