I-League: Relegation-threatened Shillong Lajong faces Aizawl FC

Shillong Lajong aims for a victory in the North-Eastern derby on Monday to keep its hopes of avoiding relegation alive.

Shillong Lajong had their better of its North-Eastern rival in its home game in October, 2018. Photo: AIFF Media

Shillong Lajong FC will hope to take a decisive step towards avoiding relegation by securing a win over its North-Eastern neighbour Aizawl FC in an I-League contest at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Aizawl on Monday.

Shillong Lajong is currently positioned at the bottom of the points table, with 11 points from 18 matches. Gokulam Kerala is in the 10th position, with three more points from as many matches, and Minerva Punjab in the ninth position, with 17. If Shillong Lajong wins its last two contests and if other results go its way, it can avoid the last two relegation spots.

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Aizawl, on the other hand, looks set for a mid-table finish. It is currently eighth, with 18 points from as many games. The 2016-17 champion has done well since the arrival of its new head coach, Stanley Rosario. Two players in particular — Ansumanah Kromah and Mapuia — have been exceptional.

Rosario underlined the importance of the upcoming contest. “I am happy that [we’re] out of relegation. That is more important and so I came here and helped the team. We moved the team from bottom to up and qualified for Super Cup. Shillong Lajong is in the relegation zone and they will come up strong because they want points. Tomorrow’s match is very important for us as it is going to be a North-Eastern derby. I am confident about my boys. They will be taking the three points tomorrow,” Rosario said on Sunday.

Hard work ahead

Alison Khasyntiew, Rosario’s counterpart, said: “We have two games left in this league, one with Aizawl tomorrow and next game is home game with Mohun Bagan and if we win both these matches then we might be out of relegation. We have to work very hard tomorrow against Aizawl. Hopefully we will get the three points. Aizawl has been doing good. Last game they did well. Tomorrow it will be a difficult match for us and hoping for three points. In the home game we defeated Aizawl so I hope tomorrow we will be able to defeat them.”

The side will hope not be profligate in defence, to eke out the best results in its last two matches. It has already leaked 49 goals in the season so far.

The contest kicks off at 2 p.m. IST.

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