Match preview : SLFC vs Sporting Club De Goa
The Round 16 clash in Shillong will be between two teams desperate for three points to keep their survival hopes alive in the league. The hosts Lajong has 13 points and a win will see them equal on points with Air India and Salgaocar while Sporting is still looking for their first win in the league.
Lajong will be boosted by the return of their captain Aibor Khonjee and long term casualty Marlanki Suiting. The former Indian under 19 player was injured in the Nayanar Gold Cup and will start ahead of Passah who is out with two yellow cards. While Marlanki will not be in the starting line up but may feature in the later part of the match. The Nigerian ex-international Okoye and Samson will pair in the central midfield and James Giblee and Anil Gurung will retain their position in the forward line.
Sporting narrowly missed three points against Mumbai FC and when they travel to Shillong the Singapore defender Kenji Arji will miss the flight. The central defender is out with two yellow cards after he was booked against Mumbai FC and the 32 year old Felip Gomes may be replacing Arji. While the midfield is the key for the goan club as the captain and attacking midfielder Joseph Pereira is in red hot form and has scored in their last game. While the striker Junior came off the bench to give them the lead and the Nigerian will be starting with Nathaniel Amos upfront.
The under fire Lajong coach Stanley Rozario expects a tough match when they face Sporting tomorrow. ”The match will be between two teams in the bottom of the table and Sporting is a club which finished third in the table last season. Though they are struggling this season but still it won’t be an easy for us as they have plenty of experienced players like Junior, Amos, Bibiano Fernandes, Joseph Pereira etc”, he told IndiaInFootball.com.
He warned his players not to be complacent after they shocked East Bengal in their last round fixture at Shillong.” It was a great result against East Bengal but we can’t think about that win any more as we have to get three points in our coming matches to make sure we stay in safe in the league”.
The goan is also excited that the experienced Aibor Khonjee and Marlanki Suiting is back to the squad after long injury lay offs. ”They are key players in the team and has got plenty of experience and I am quite pleased they have recovered from injuries”, he added.
Lajong got the better of Sporting at Goa with a solitary goal win. It was Boithang Haokip who scored the winner for the North East club.
HEAD to HEAD in I-LEAGUE
Shillong Lajong: Won – 1, Draw – 0, Loss – 0
Sporting Clube De Goa: Won – 0, Draw – 0, Loss – 1
PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR
Elijah Junior was sixth in the last season’s top scorer list but the Nigerian has been struggling this season. But scoring a goal coming from the bench against Mumbai FC showed his class. He will be eyeing to score more goals for goan club to help them come out of the bottom of the table.
Ayeni Bidemi Daniel scored the winning goal for Lajong against East Bengal. The versatile player who can play in defence or midfield is surely one among the favorite of Shillong people and is carrying the hopes of the North East club.