I-League: Must win match for relegation threatened Shillong Lajong

Facing a serious relegation threat, the team from Shillong is languishing at the bottom of the table with 15 points in its kitty from as many matches and have no option but to muster a win against its famed Kolkata-based opponent in what will be a gripping encounter at the JN Sports Complex in Shillong.

From left to right: East Bengal defender Arnab Mondal, coach Trevor Morgan, Lajong manager Thangboi Singto and midfielder Penn Orji.   -  I-League Media

Shillong Lajong FC will take on East Bengal in the “must-win” I-League tie of the season in Shillong on Sunday evening.

Facing a serious relegation threat, the team from Shillong is languishing at the bottom of the table with 15 points in its kitty from as many matches and have no option but to muster a win against its famed Kolkata-based opponent in what will be a gripping encounter at the JN Sports Complex in Shillong.

A lot will also be at stake for the visiting team as well, which will look to gather full three points from the match and sign off on a positive note.

Lajong is in the relegation battle along with fellow strugglers Mumbai FC and Aizawl FC. While a win would put all relegation doubts to rest, Lajong would at least have to secure a draw to stay in the hunt for the next season.

Addressing media persons during a pre-match conference here on Saturday afternoon, Lajong coach Thangboi Singto minced no words and said that “we can’t lose tomorrow. It’s on me and the players to go out there and do the job.”

Singto, however, expressed confidence that his boys were well prepared for the make or break tie. He added in the same breath that East Bengal is not an easy opponent to play under any circumstance, while reiterating that the home players are ready for the “tough game”.

A bit emotional, Singto also apologised to Lajong fans for an indifferent show this season and urged them to come out in large numbers to support the beleaguered side tomorrow even as he promised a good show.

Newly appointed Red & Golds coach Trevor Morgan also underlined the importance of a win tomorrow.

“Both sides need to win for different reasons,” he said, adding that a victory in Shillong could even catapult the Kolkata side to the second position if statistics permitted.

“The players have been fantastic, and we are hopeful of a win tomorrow,” said Morgan.

Lajong midfield mainstay Penn Orji, meanwhile, said that there was no undue pressure on the boys going into the tie, “The camp is relaxed and focused and looking to show something good tomorrow. We are a confident lot,” asserted Orji, who can be singled out for his good show this season.

Come Sunday, all roads in Shillong would certainly lead to the JN Stadium where a lot will be at stake for this football-crazy hill city.

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