The second leg of the Hero I-League kicks off at the JN Stadium Shillong on Friday with Lajong playing host to DSK Shivajians in the reverse fixture at 7pm.
Lajong are coming into this game after playing out a 1-1 draw against DSK Shivajians on the 21st February. Uilliams Souza had given the team an early lead which was later cancelled out by Dica to end the match 1-1 in Pune.
The Reds had a decent campaign to the I-League thus far and are currently in the 5th position of the I-League standings with 10 points. The only growing concern remains the lack of goals coming in from the strikers and hence, with this in mind, the team will look to start the second leg of the league tomorrow on a promising note with good attacking football and pump in goals to help the team win matches which will ultimately lead to a better position in the standings as well.
Lajong played their previous match with only two foreigners and during the pre-match press conference held in the city today, Coach Thangboi Singto declared that Yusuke will remain absent from tomorrow’s match as well. The Japanese defender has not recovered from his injury. Fabio Pena also remains doubtful for tomorrow’s clash including Uilliams Souza. However the coach said that the final call will be taken from the Medical Team on late Thursday evening.
Less than a week ago the two sides met each other in Pune and Lajong only arrived in Shillong on Monday evening. The team began their training session on Wednesday afternoon after a long trip away from home. The Lajong gaffer said that preparation is not at its best as the players had to travel a lot and it has been very tough for them as well.
He continued saying, “We have a big squad which is ready for selection. The youngsters are in the squad for a reason and they need to perform well if they get the chance to do so and I have full faith in all the players we have this season.”
Thangboi Singto feels that his primary concern is goals as the team has scored the least amount of goals. He said, “Goals give you points and we have not been able to score many goals this season. Hopefully this changes in tomorrow’s match.
“If you see the table our position is not bad. There were some tight games which we could have won and we could have been in a higher position.
“Youngsters have really done well and I hope they keep improving as the seniors are also there to help them.
“The second leg starts tomorrow and it’s about consistency and getting goals. I hope we get more goals and points will come automatically.”
The visitors DSK Shivajians who are struggling at the bottom of the table will look to make the most from tomorrow’s match. The team gained a lot of momentum from their previous clash against Lajong and displayed good football in the second half.
DSK Shivajians coach who also attended the pre-match press conference today addressed the media by saying, “We always get a good reception in the North East.”
The Pune based outfit have lost five times, drew twice and lost once so far in the I-League. But according to Derrick Pereira the target is to build a team and to compete against the best teams in the I-League. He also said, “We want to do well as a team and my target was to finish in top half.”
DSK have scored five goals thus far with Dica and Sampath Kuttymani the only two providers for the team.
DSK have also had problems in front of goal as well as at the back line. They have conceded 13 goals so far. The DSK gaffer further said,”There are negatives and positives as well. We have weaknesses which we are working on.
We have got experienced players and we are working on all departments. We need to improve finishing and defence needs to work as a unit.”
“We are struggling with injuries but we need to do well as a team. I hope we start the second leg on a better note.”
Both sides clash swords for the second time in less than a week and the I-League clash promises to be an interesting encounter on Friday at 7pm in Shillong.
Lajong and DSK will go all out for a win as both need to better their position in the League. However, Lajong will go into the game banking on home advantage and give the Shillong crowd a good game of I-League football with only five home games remaining, before the season comes to an end in April.