After ending Neroca FC’s unbeaten run in the I-League, Shillong Lajong FC are now all set to face Gokulam Kerala FC in their third consecutive away game. The match will be held at the EMS Corporate Stadium in Kozhikode at 2 PM on 28th January and telecast live on Star Sports 2/Star Sports 2 HD/Hotstar App/Jio TV.
After suffering a defeat against Churchill Brothers FC in Goa, Lajong came back strongly in their recent match against Neroca and secured all three points with a convincing 0-2 victory. The Reds didn’t only put up a strong fight up front but also were quite fierce defensively. With that victory Lajong now sits at the 5th position with seventeen points from twelve matches.
Despite having plenty of chances to score against Churchill Brothers, the Lajong forwards didn’t manage to find the back of the net and the lack of goals was an area of concern for the team. But in their second game together, Saihou Jagne and Abdoulaye Koffi both scored in the Reds‘ vital win in Imphal.
Addressing this issue, assistant coach Alison Kharsyntiew said, „The best thing is that we scored the goals which we were lacking in the previous match. Players like Saihou and Koffi are back in the game with good form which helps the team a lot.“
The team now is shaping up well as all the young academy products who are growing in experience after getting regular game time. Along with Captain Samuel Lalmuanpuia, Hardy Cliff Nongbri is a regular name in the midfield of the Reds. On the defensive end, fullbacks Rakesh Pradhan and Novin Gurung play a vital role in the team’s defence as well as in the team’s attacks with their overlapping runs down the flanks. Both Rakesh and Novin grabbed an assist each in the last game against Neroca.
Speaking about the young players Alison said, „Most of our players are junior academy players. They are technically gifted players but they only lack experience. The important thing for them is to improve in training and we have to encourage them to improve rather than criticise.“
The Reds will face the challenge of playing under the scorching sun which is not something the players are used to in Shillong. „Compared to Shillong the weather here is different. We are trying everything to adapt here. I think our boys are prepared for this game but it is going to be a very tough game against Gokulam,“ Alison said.
„Consistency is very important. We’ve been working very hard in training. We need to go for every match with confidence and believe that we can win. Hopefully, against Gokulam we give a good fight and get the three points,“ he further added.
The hosts Gokulam Kerala FC started their I-League campaign with a 1-0 loss against Lajong in Shillong. With only two wins and a draw in their ten matches, they are now at the bottom of the table having to fight very hard for points.
In their last match against Chennai City FC, Gokulam were the better team throughout and they deservingly came out victorious with a 0-1 scoreline. Speaking about the opponents, Alison said „Gokulam Kerala is a good team. They performed well in their last match against Chennai City. So it will be tough playing against them especially in their soil.“
(Shillong Lajong FC)