I-League: Lajong eye elusive win (Preview)

Shillong, March 31 (IANS) Shillong Lajong FC will be aiming for an elusive victory in front of their home fans when they take on top flight debutants Aizawl FC in an I-League clash at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Friday.

Lajong have managed only two wins in their 11 matches which has seen them rooted to the bottom of the I-League table with 11 points. However, with four teams –including Aizawl — locked at 12 points each, a win on Friday will see the hosts climb to the fifth position.

“Positives are the youngsters graduating and proving that they are good enough for the League. Also the team spirit is good that will help us fight and do better in the

remaining 5 matches,” Lajong coach Thangboi Singto said on the the eve of the match.

The coach also informed that the team have made full use of the international break and have worked on those aspects which still need improvements.

Lajong have played several matches without their key foreign players. Penn Orji is the only foreign player who has started in every match. Fabio and Uilliams have also

had their share of problems with injuries this season and thus the team lacked the attacking prowess upfront.

To add to Singto’s woes, Yusuke Yamagata is out of consideration because of his prolonged injury.

“Injuries have been putting a brake on the players’ performances this season. Hopefully we will have all players available for selection for the Derby match so that

we can field our best squad possible,” Singto lamented.

“The break has been good for us and gave us a chance to work on many aspects to improve the team’s performance. The players who have been injured got some rest too during the break and have shown signs of recovery.”

Even if Lajong win on Friday, they will have to perform consistently from here as only four games are left after the match against Aizawl FC.

“Tomorrow is the day for us. The strikers need to deliver and others need to chip in as well to help the team with goals as goals will help us collect full points,” Singto concluded.

Aizawl FC are having a decent campaign in their debut season. After their humongous win against league leaders Mohun Bagan at home, the Mizoram outfit are still basking in that glory and certainly wouldn’t throw in the towel before the final whistle.

With the valiant win over the reigning champions, Aizawl FC ended Mohun Bagan’s enviable unbeaten run with Joel Sunday and Lalchhawnkima providing the goals which gave their fans a reason to celebrate as the win helped them rise to fifth spot on the table with 12 points.

They have also been very dangerous in front of goal and have scored as many as 12 times so far.

On being asked whether his boys are feeling confident following the win against Mohun Bagan, Aizawl coach Jahar Das stated, “We are very confident to repeat that performance but it will be very difficult against Lajong.”

“It is too early to say anything and if we are confident after beating Bagan, Lajong will also be motivated to play like anything,” he added.

Singto pointed out that Aizawl FC play an attacking brand of football and credited Das for doing a good job with the team even though he joined them half way through the season.

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