Shillong Lajong FC are all set to play their fourth home match of the 2014-15 Hero I-League season against Salgaocar FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Shillong on Saturday at 16.30 IST.
Lajong are coming into the game on the back of a five-match unbeaten streak but having drawn four out of their last five league matches.
The North East outfit will look to capitalize on home advantage towards the end of the season with the match against the Goan side being the first of a seven game run of home fixtures stretching right until the last match of the season.
Speaking at a pre match press match conference, Shillong Lajong FC head coach Thangboi Singto said, “The situation we are at the moment is that every match is very much crucial. We have to get a result every week. Pressure is there but that is part of the job. Having said that Salgaocar are a very tough team, they have one of the best coaches in the league and it won’t be an easy game tomorrow. We have to give our best and climb a little bit higher in the table.”
Salgaocar FC on the other hand are on a poor run of form having lost four consecutive games and fatigue will play its part as they will be playing their third match in just a week. Salgaocar FC head coach Derrick Perreira emphasized on the tough situation the club is facing, “It is tough. Last four matches although we performed well we could not get the result we expected due to circumstances which were not in our hands and the conditions which also affected our results, even though not our performance.”
Shillong Lajong have been stringing up together a run of good games after the international break with the 6-0 drubbing over Mumbai FC reinstating their ambitions to finish high up the I-League standings. Coach Thangboi said,”The break helped the players to get fitter and the injured players to recover. The Mumbai result has improved the confidence and motivation to push the team.” Coach Perreira rates Shillong Lajong as “one of the top teams in the league” and has backed this statement stating that Lajong have benefited from the return of their foreign players “especially Cornel Glen.”
The Greens from Goa will however have drawn some inspiration from the last time the two teams met in the league where Salgaocar prevailed over Shillong Lajong. Derrick Pereira also added, “I am sure my players will fight it out. They’ve got the qualities and attitude. I am sure that it will be a good match tomorrow.”
Shillong Lajong FC will go into the match with two of their defensive stalwarts being sidelined with injuries. Captain Aibor Khongjee is out with a toe injury, full back Robing Gurung is also out and forward Seiminlen Doungel will be also be doubtful to start the match. Salgaocar FC on the other hand have no injury concerns leading up to the game.
The home team is at the 9th position with 13 points while the visitors from Goa are just one place above the former with 14 points. It will be a tight battle between the two sides where three points will be up for grabs and both sides will settle for nothing less than a victory.