The Mumbaikars who have not lost a single match at their new home fortress this I-League season are all set to host North East I-League Club, Shillong Lajong FC on Friday at the Cooperage Stadium in Mumbai at 7pm.
The North East outfit head into this fixture after playing out a 1-1 draw at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa against Sporting Clube De Goa on the 28th of March. Lajong picked up a point courtesy a goal from Striker Cornell Glen.
Cornell who is a former World Cupper and also Lajong’s marquee player is the second highest goal scorer in the I-League this season with 7 goals from 9 appearances.
Interestingly, the Reds have managed to be strong in their attacking display upfront but could have done better to avoid being in the bottom half of the table. The defence have been conceding early goals and committing costly errors in their previous matches and thus the team is struggling. They are placed at the second last of the I-League standings with 7 points. However, a win in tomorrow’s match will take them to the 8th position and also end Mumbai’s unbeaten run at home.
Coach Thangboi Singto shared some light on the team’s defence line. He said, “After Conceding early against Sporting Clube, we stood strong and held Odafa and Wolfe. That shows, overall we have improved defensively. We still have to concentrate in not conceding early goals.”
Mumbai FC coached by former India International Khalid Jamil lost 1-0 to Lajong in the First Leg I-League Encounter in Shillong this season. It was Lajong’s second home game and the Club’s first win of the season. The Reds have only played three home games so far.
Coach Thangboi Singto added “Mumbai FC is a strong and physical side. We need to match them in the areas as I mentioned earlier in order to get a positive result.”
The match against Mumbai is Lajong’s second away fixture since the International break and the team have been training very hard since their arrival in Mumbai on Tuesday and are looking to snatch all the three points from the host. He also said “The Team is adapting to the heat and weather conditions here in Mumbai. But we need to be mentally strong and confident.” “We must play cohesively and a good team performance will give us good results”, he concluded.
Crossing over, host Mumbai FC lost to Salgaocar FC in their previous I-League fixture. The Greens won the encounter 3-1 at home.
Khalid Jamil’s troops are on an unbeaten streak at home and are placed in the 7th position with 12 points.
Mumbai will look to bank on Reisangmi Vashum and Taisuke Matsugae in midfield who will try to create plenty of opportunities and supply good passes to the strikers. Josimar, Mohammed Rafi and Jayesh Rane will have to stay mentally strong and aim to accomplish their goal scoring duties as they do know the kind of resilience Lajong defenders can pose in tomorrow’s match.
Chika Wali and Justine Stephen will have to stay physically strong and alert at the back knowing that Glen is Lajong’s Goal Scoring Machine and can prove to be very dangerous once he gets his feet on the ball.
The Reds from the North East India will face off the Mumbaikars on Friday evening in a tight I-League encounter at the Cooperage ground. Lajong will need to stay focussed, strong and united as a team on the pitch, as a win is certainly crucial for the team at this stage of the season.