Real Kashmir FC will look to make the most of an extended home run when it takes on a young and dangerous foreigner-less Shillong Lajong on Tuesday at the TRC turf ground in Srinagar.
The debutant Kashmir is currently placed fifth on the I-League points table with 10 points from six games.
Kashmir will be playing its sixth home game on the trot before football returns to the cold Kashmir valley at the end of January after a 47-day break. It has notched up two wins, one draw and two defeats in the five games so far and would be eager to get a third win against Shillong before it hits the road.
The visitor, which is placed 10th after collecting a mere four points from seven games, is more dangerous than its position suggests and Kashmir will have to be at its very best to get a positive result against Alison Kharsyntiew’s young and talented side.
Struggling for goals
David Robertson, the home team’s Scottish coach will want his team to score more goals, to begin with, having registered just four so far. His go-to man for goals, Ivorian striker Gnohere Krizo, has struck just once in its opening win against Minerva Punjab and Ghanaian Abednedo Koffi is just about finding his feet after being drafted into the squad very recently.
Robertson has put together a tight defence though, led by his son Mason Robertson and Nigerian Loveday Okechukwu, having conceded just three and that should hold the side in good stead against a dangerous Shillong forward line which has scored nine.
The coach reflected all those aspirations and concerns in the pre-game chat saying, “With two good wins, we managed to turn the chances in the goal. Tomorrow’s (Tuesday's) game is also a difficult game as every game is. We have to defend well."
"It is the last home game in six weeks, so it is important to send our supporters home, happy with another win. Shillong score goals, they create chances and they concede goals as well. They are well organised, they got speed and they create chances.”
Kharsyntiew’s problems stem from the league’s most profligate defence, probably where the inexperience of his young home-grown side is showing the most having conceded a massive 16 goals in its seven games.
Aibanbha Kupar has been the bulwark of the Shillong back four but the likes of Kharshong, Novin Gurung and Khongsit clearly need to step it up more. Its captain and midfield general Samuel Lalmuanpuia has a very talented forward line to play with and in Phrangki Buam, who has scored thrice so far, it has probably unearthed a future star.
Clearly enjoying the Kashmir experience, Alison looked in good spirits and eager to put up a good show disclosing in the pre-game chat, “It's a different experience and very excited to play in Kashmir. The weather is not an issue for us, it's almost the same as Shillong."
"Hopefully, we will be playing a good game tomorrow. We will be looking to bounce back and our main objective is to win. But its difficult against Real Kashmir as they are a very good team”, he added.
Kashmir goes into the game with a couple of wins under its belt while Shillong is coming off a home loss to Neroca so the home side definitely have the advantage on all fronts. To add to that is added incentive of going up to third in the standings if a win comes its way.
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