THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Rangdajied United high on confidence ahead of Churchill encounter

Rangdajied coach Santosh Kashyap instructs Lamine Tamba

Rangdajied coach Santosh Kashyap instructs Lamine Tamba

Last week, Rangdajied United and Dempo SC treated Shillong’s football fans to a footballing classic at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. With the blues making their home I-League bow on a Friday afternoon, Santosh Kashyap’s men staged a brilliant fightback to deny former champions Dempo SC their first league win of the season. T Lalnunpuia and Sandesh Gadkari scored for the hosts, as they crawled back from a 2-0 deficit to earn a respectable 2-2 draw.

This Thursday, Churchill come to town to take on Santosh Kashyap’s men, with the defending champions level on points with Rangdajied, and still winless in the league. Rangdajied United will be running high on confidence after securing their first I-League point against Dempo, that too in the most dramatic of fashion. With the I-League holders not in the best of form, the hosts will be looking to sprinkle more salt to Churchill’s wounds on Thursday.

At the back, Surjay Pariyar should start under the bar; while Thomas Saikhom, Lamine Tamba, Munmun Lugun and Poibiang Pohshna could be Kashyap’s preferred backline. It was Thomas Saikhom who had brought down Dempo’s Billy Mehmet inside the penalty box in the first half, which had led to the visitor’s first goal. However, the full-back redeemed himself in the later stages of the game by playing a vital part in Rangdajied’s equalizer.

Eugeneson Lyngdoh and T Lalnunpuia played crucial roles in Rangdajied’s comeback draw against Dempo. Both of them will be vital parts of Santosh Kashyap’s offensive gameplan against the I-League champions. Lalnunpuia, in particular, was impressive against the Goan club, and will once again have to be at the top of his game, if Rangdajied are to inflict any pain on the visitors.

Youngster Joy Mrong Kharraswai, new signing David Nghaite and Restomwell Khriam started behind Nagen Tamang in the game against Dempo, but with Sandesh Gadkari scoring the important equalizer against the visitors after coming on as a substitute, either Tamang or Kharraswai may have to make way for the newly-signed forward. Edmar Figueira, who missed out against Dempo with an injury, is a doubtful starter.

Despite poor start, Churchill Brothers boast of very good squad, and they will look to turn things around from here. With a full-capacity crowd expected for the game, Santosh Kashyap’s men, however, will hope to make full use of the fans’ support and earn the full three points against the Goans.