It’s finally time for the first North East Derby of the 2017/18 I-League season. Aizawl FC will host Shillong Lajong FC at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium on 18th December at 14.00 IST. The match will telecast live on Star Sports 2/Star Sports 2 HD/Hotstar App/Jio TV.
Before arriving in Aizawl, Shillong Lajong had two tough away fixtures in Kolkata that is against East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. Even though it wasn’t the best start to their away campaign but they did pick up one point however from Mohun Bagan’s den on 14th December after both sides converted a penalty in either half’s of the match. Head Coach Bobby Nongbet said that a point was a blessing after the previous 5-1 defeat to East Bengal.
Shillong Lajong is on 7 points after two wins and one draw so far. The last match saw Aiman Al Hagri’s return to the squad after recovering from injury but the Reds will continue to miss the service of their striker from Ivory Coast, Abdoulaye Koffi. Nevertheless, the young Lajong side will be expected to improve their performances and regain their winning form in the next match.
Aizawl FC and Shillong Lajong have met twice in Aizawl. On 13th February 2016, both sides played a goalless draw while Aizawl emerged as winners (2-1) in their second season Derby fixture of the I-League on 17th January 2017.
Head Coach Bobby Nongbet said, “We expect the team to play good attacking football. They need to work hard collectively to get 3points.”
“The game will be very tough as Aizawl is a good team. They have done well in the last two games. But we are ready for the challenge.”
The Mizoram based club kicked started their I-League campaign with a 2-2 draw against East Bengal in Kolkata. They came from two goals down and managed to level the score at 2-2 and snatched a crucial away point from their former coach, Khalid Jamil’s side.
Two weeks later, Aizawl FC then played their first home game of the season against Churchill Brothers on 13th December. Japanese striker, Yugo Kobayashi scored the late winning goal in the 88th minute. They have collected four points after one win and one draw.
Aizawl had retained the services of Alfred Jaryan from the previous season and David Lalrinmuana had returned to Aizawl FC this season and both will be a threat from the centre of the park. Their Japanese striker, Yugo Kobayashi along with the Ivorian Leonce Dodoz is expected of forming the attacking partnership this season while Nigerian centre back, Kareem Nurain together with Masih Saighani from Afghanistan will be on defensive duties against Lajong.
(Shillong Lajong FC)