Shillong Lajong FC is all set to play their first home game of the Hero I-League 2016/17 season against Minerva Punjab FC on January 21 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium at 16.30 IST. The club urges the Lajong Faithfuls to be there for the team as their support will definitely make a lot of difference in helping achieving the desired result.
It certainly hasn’t been a dream start for Lajong in the new season as they lost three away matches in a row. Although the first two encounters against the defending champions Bengaluru FC and Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan were the toughest clashes for the young Reds, the loss against North East rivals Aizawl FC definitely cost the team dearly. Lajong’s game plan against Aizawl didn’t seem to go their way with Fabio missing a penalty in the 5th minute and the defence breaking down and giving away easy goals.
However, Singto and his boys have moved on from this and are looking to make things right and obtain maximum points from the upcoming five home matches. The team is working on improving the conversion rate in front of goal as this has been a major issue in the opening few matches. Although many chances are created the players have failed to utilise the opportunities and the gaffer has not been very pleased with that and expects more contributions from the foreign signings and from the young Indian players.
Speaking in the pre-match press conference today Thangboi Singto said, “Even last season our away game results were not good. We garnered very few points. It’s a new start this season. It will take time to build as a unit and to settle on our starting eleven.“
„We knew that our first two games were going to be tough but I am really disappointed with the performance against Aizawl. There was very poor defending and that is because we have a lot of young defenders who lack that experience.“
„Minerva has experience and good calibre players and it will be a tough game”, he said.
On the other side, new entrants Minerva Punjab FC are also struggling to find their feet in the Hero I-League and haven’t opened their goal scoring account so far from three matches played.
They drew their first match against debutants from South India, Chennai City FC, in a goalless encounter. Minerva then lost their second and third match against Aizawl FC and Mohun Bagan AC 1-0 and 4-0 respectively.
The team from Punjab finished the 2nd Division of the I-League last year as runners-up to Dempo SC with Joel Sunday and Manandeep Singh their two most dangerous strikers in the team and this pair will look to make the most from tomorrow’s match. Their gaffer, Surinder Singh, will also depend on Vinit Rai in midfield and on Nigerian defender Loveday Enyinnaya, who will be marshalling the defence of the “Warriors”.
Speaking to the Shillong Media on Friday, Surinder Singh said, “We have to work hard on defence in the coming matches. The boys are confident and we want to grab points from here. It’s our fourth away game and that is very challenging.“
„We are going to do better than the last game and you can expect good attacking football from both sides.”
(Shillong Lajong FC Press Release)