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

Shillong Lajong to face Mohun Bagan on Saturday

Shillong Lajong coach Alison Kharsyntiew and Mohun Bagan coach Shankarlal Chakraborty (Photo courtesy: Shillong Lajong FC)

Shillong Lajong welcomes Mohun Bagan in the second leg fixture of the I-League 2017-18 Season on 3rd February at the JN Stadium in Shillong at 5:30 PM. The tickets will be available at The Mobile Centre Police Bazaar, Sports Spirit MUDA Complex and SSA Counter Polo.

These two sides previously faced each other this season on 14th December in Kolkata and the match ended 1-1. Aser Dipanda Dicka and Samuel Lalmuanpuia converted penalties for their sides.

In the points table, Shillong Lajong is in the 5th position with 17 points while Mohun Bagan is on 4th with 17 points too but with a better goal difference. Lajong is hoping to make full use of the home advantage and is really looking forward to bettering their position in the I-League standings.

The home side is coming into this fixture after playing three consecutive away matches against Churchill Brothers, Neroca and Gokulam Kerala. Lajong managed to pick up three points in total after winning one game that is the North East Derby versus Neroca FC by a 2-0 margin. In the other two games, Lajong were defeated by the Goan side with a 2-0 score line. In the last one, they came very close to winning the game against Gokulam Kerala but despite leading twice in the game, they succumbed to a 3-2 defeat in the end after failing to capitalise on their chances.

Shillong Lajong Coach Alison Kharsyntiew said, “In the game against Churchill, we played a good game and dominated the game, yet we lost. We played a good game against Neroca and against Gokulam, it was a very poor performance from us. But, it’s in the past. Now our main objective is to look forward and keep moving on and try to perform well on Saturday.”

“We are ready, and we look forward to three points. Every next game we play, we will play to win and earn the maximum points from the remaining 5 matches.”

Mohun Bagan’s former assistant coach, Shankarlal Chakraborty is the currently in charge of the team. He took over after the team lost the away game to Chennai City, 1-2 and since then the Mariners won 2-0 against Aizawl at home including the Kolkata derby with the same score line. They lost to title contenders Minerva Punjab at home by 1-2 and drew 1-1 away with Aizawl.

Their biggest margin victory of the season is the 5-0 win over Churchill Brothers on 10th December 2017 while Aser Dipanda Dicka is their leading goal scorer after netting 7 goals so far, this season.

Mohun Bagan has scored 16 goals in total and possesses a lethal attacking force. They have also roped in Akram Moghrabi and Bimal Magar recently, to further strengthen the attack after releasing Kromah.

Lajong on the other hand will need to give a big performance on Saturday evening and make full use of home advantage in order to overcome their counterparts. They desperately need a victory to avoid dropping down in the I-League standings.

Mohun Bagan coach Shankarlal Chakraborty said, “We are confident, the team after derby is very high in morale. The team combination, spirit is in excellent shape. But an away match is an away match, it is never easy to win.”

“Lajong has always been tough. They are a very good side. They have very good set of foreigners along with the Indian players, especially Samuel, who for me is the best set piece taker in India,” he further added.

He is worried about the cold windy weather of Shillong and said, “We are going to fight two teams, Shillong Lajong and the weather of Shillong. Lajong’s team combination and their new striker along with Samuel make their attack very strong.”

(Shillong Lajong FC)