After scripting history last Sunday with their fourth consecutive victory in the Hero I-League, Shillong Lajong FC will look to go one better tomorrow when they take on DSK Shivajians at the JN Stadium, Shillong, at 4:30PM.
A second half strike by Cameroonian striker Aser Dipanda Dicka and two peerless saves by goalkeeper and man-of-the-match Vishal Kaith ensured that Lajong picked up three points against Churchill Brothers and the Reds will look to maintain their 100% winning record at home tomorrow when they go up against the Pune team in the eighth round match.
Lajong are currently in fourth place with 12 points, while Shivajians are in sixth position on six points. The visitors have had a mixed season thus far, having won just once against Chennai City FC last month and drawing three times, including against big clubs like Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC.
Noting the opposition’s strengths at the pre-match press conference today, Shillong Lajong coach Thangboi Singto said, “We aim to do well and get full points tomorrow, but Shivajians have done quite well. Their Indian players, like goalkeeper Subrata Paul and attacker Holicharan Narzary, have played at the highest level. They are one of the strongest teams in the league.”
The Reds received tremendous support from the Lajong Faithfuls in the last game and they will need it again on Saturday. Winning tomorrow is of crucial importance, Singto said, because the away matches to come are definitely going to be extremely challenging.
The gaffer has also been pleased with the maturity and football nous shown by the youngsters in the squad and the bonus from the last two victories was that the hosts were able to keep clean sheets in both.
“We need to keep this winning spree going. We have done well and our target tomorrow is to do even better. We’ve played as a team and if you look at our bench strength, we’re also strong there,” Singto added.
With Shivajians joining the I-League in 2015-16 the two clubs have only met twice and, incidentally, both fixtures ended 1-1 last year. This year the Pune outfit have only been on the road twice, losing to Mumbai FC and Aizawl FC, and were unable to score in either encounter.
Their most recent game was at home against Bengaluru last Sunday, but although they earned a point from the defending champions, the result was disappointing as Shivajians let slip a two-goal lead to end 2-2. Nevertheless their coach Dave Rogers sounded confident today.
“If you have seen any of our games, you will realize that we have been doing pretty well. Lajong’s four-match winning streak does not deter us. We are here to do what we have to do,” Rogers stated.
Tomorrow his charges will take on a Lajong side that has a familiar face – that of Dicka, who scored seven goals while at Shivajians last season. This year the prodigious striker has already scored six goals for the Reds and he is eager to face his former club.
“I am happy with my DSK performance last season but I am happy to be at Lajong now. I’ve improved in my performance, played well and always give my heart. As a professional I want to win tomorrow and overcome my tally from last season,” Dicka said.