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

Chennai City FC set to host Shillong Lajong FC in Coimbatore

I-League match action between Shillong Lajong FC and Chennai City FC (Photo courtesy: Shillong Lajong FC)

Shillong Lajong will play their last and final away game of the I-League season against Chennai City FC on 11th February at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Coimbatore at 2 PM. The match will telecast live on Star Sports 2/Star Sports 2 HD/Hotstar App/Jio TV.

The Reds showed a lot of grit and desire in their last encounter against Minerva Punjab in Chandigarh on 7th February. After being down by two goals at the end of the first half, Daniel Odafin and Laurence Doe scored a piece and levelled the scoreline, 2-2 by the 64th minute. The Reds took full charge of the match until Centre Back Laurence Doe was taken off due to an injury and was replaced by young Academy product, Kynsailang Khongsit. The home team then managed to regain the lead in the 80th minute but Lajong kept on pushing forward for the equaliser. It was in the dying minutes of the match when Abdoulaye Koffi found the back of the net through a header but the referee disallowed the goal.

Shillong Lajong, however, is taking all the positives from this match and is all set to make a big impact against Chennai on Sunday before they head back home for the last two matches of the season. The Reds are currently 5th on the points table with 17 points from 15 matches.

Chennai City FC is coming into this match after playing a goalless stalemate against the Kolkata outfit, Mohun Bagan at home. It was an intense last 10 minutes in the previous match as Mohun Bagan missed a penalty, while Chennai City had one player sent off, but nevertheless, both teams earned a point each. Chennai City, haven’t won a single game at home this season so far but interestingly have beaten Mohun Bagan and Churchill Brothers away from home.

Soundarajan’s men played four home matches on the trot out of which they drew in three games and lost one. Beautin Antony was the only player of Chennai City who managed to score one goal in the 1-1 draw game versus Aizawl FC. Their match against Lajong on Sunday will be their fifth consecutive home match. In the previous encounter earlier between the two sides in Shillong, the result was a goalless draw. Chennai currently stands on 8th position in the table with 12 points from 14 matches and will be hoping to use their home advantage against Lajong who themselves are hoping to steer clear from the relegation zone.

The player to watch out from the host, Chennai City is the Frenchman, Jean Joachim, who is their leading goal scorer with five goals and is expected to lead the attack again while local lad, Soosairaj who is the team captain will also be a threat in the middle of the park for the host.

Shillong Lajong Coach Alison Kharsyntiew said, “It is a very crucial match for us. We will work hard for the 3points.”

Alison also threw some light on how the boys are coping up with the pressure of the final away battle.

“In every match, pressure is always there and the players are coping well, they have to stay focused and believe in themselves.

“We are hoping to collect the three points on Sunday. And for that, we have to put on a good performance.

Alison also spoke about the host ahead of the match. He said, “Chennai is a good team. They have brought in some new foreign players. They also have good experienced local players. So it will be tough playing against Chennai.”

Shillong Lajong will be banking heavily on the services of Abdoulaye Koffi and Saihou Jagne up front to find the goals while youngster, Samuel Lalmuanpuia who has been very influential for the Reds, will be looking to creating chances for the strikers to win the crucial match on Sunday.

(Shillong Lajong FC)