Federation Cup: Lajong face uphill battle against Mohun Bagan (Preview)

Shillong, May 13 (IANS) Mohun Bagan will start as clear favourites when they take on Shillong Lajong FC in the second leg of the Federation Cup semi-finals at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Saturday evening.

Mohun Bagan had trounced Aizawl 5-0 in the first leg, leaving the hosts to try and pull off a miracle of sorts if they fancy making it to the final. However, despite holding the advantage going into the second leg, Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen is not ready to be complacent. Rather, he wants his boys to treat this as a fresh game and go all out for a positive result.

“This is a new game. We are starting 0-0. Need to win this game and qualify for the final,” Sen said during the Official pre-match press conference here on Friday.

Sen minced no words in stating that the Federation Cup meant a lot to the Mohun Bagan players who had narrowly missed out on winning the I-League title.

“We need to win the Fed Cup for our supporters,” he said.

The Mohun Bagan coach was also all praise for rivals Shillong Lajong, stating that the hosts have a strong combination of talented youngsters and experienced foreigners.

“They have a good young side and experienced foreigners and beat East Bengal thrice in 15 days,” Sen said.

“It’s not going to be easy by any means. We have to be at our best,” he added.

Meanwhile Shillong Lajong head coach Thangboi Singto has no choice but to forget the miserable performance in Kolkata and marshal his troops for an eventful outing at home.

“For us it is one more chance at redemption. The players should take this game as a big challenge and aim to end the season on a high,” Singto opined.

“We were doing well till they scored the first goal. We always knew it was going to be a tough game but did not expect this kind of result. We should have done better as a team,” he said.

The usually cool and composed Singto agreed that motivating the players under such circumstances is never easy but backed his boys to give their 100 percent on Saturday.

One person who seemed all charged up ahead of the encounter tomorrow was Lajong’s midfield mainstay Penn Orji.

“Bagan grabbed their advantage in Kolkata, now it’s our turn. Football is unpredictable, anything is possible,” Orji said, adding that the team was composed and ready for the do or die encounter.

–IANS

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