Lajong hosts Bagan in crucial clash

Fifth-placed Shillong Lajong hosts Mohun Bagan in the I-League on Saturday.

Mohun Bagan players training ahead of the clash against Shillong Lajong on Friday.   -  AIFF Media

After three consecutive away matches, Shillong Lajong hosts Kolkata heavy-weight Mohun Bagan in a crucial I-League clash on Saturday.

Lajong lost two of its three away games against Churchill Brothers and Gokulam Kerala but went on to scalp all three points against Neroca FC. Bagan, on the other hand, come into the tie on the back of a 1-1 draw against Aizawl FC last week.

In the last time the two teams faced each other, Lajong drew 1-1 against the Mariners in Kolkata and it will be interesting to see which team claims all three points in this clash.

Bagan head coach Sankarlal Chakraborty said, “It will be a tough match. Shillong Lajong are an excellent side and playing against them in their own backyard will always be difficult."

"Another factor which is concerning us is also the weather. We don’t experience this type of climate in Kolkata and it’s difficult for us as a team," he added.

READ: We can still win the league, says Mohun Bagan's Nikhil Kadam

"For us, tomorrow’s game will be against two teams, Shillong Lajong and the weather. But we do not consider ourselves at a disadvantage as the entire team is in excellent form,” said Chakraborty with a laugh, while adding, “We are confident as a team and we will be playing to win. We are not too worried about our position in the standings as we are aiming for maximum points and we are hoping for good results by the end of the season.”

On being asked whether his team will be looking for an early lead advantage in the tie, he said, “It does not matter whether it is a first half goal or the last minute goal, we are aiming for maximum points.”

Lajong coach Alison Kharsyntiew seemed confident of his side's chances. “Going into tomorrow’s game, we feel confident and we are determined to prove ourselves and gain points. We had just come back from three away games."

"We played well against Churchill but because of our inability to score, we lost the match even though we dominated whereas, against Gokulam, it was a poor performance from our side. We do not underestimate Mohun Bagan but we will try our hardest to win,” he said.

“We also made a few bad decisions in the last few games regarding substitutions but sometimes substitutions can turn out good otherwise it can turn out to be bad,” he added.

“We have been training very hard especially when it comes to our finishing and goal scoring. We still have a few games left and we are determined to win all the remaining games too,’’ said Kharsyntiew, when asked about the team’s preparation ahead of facing the Green and Maroons.

“Mohun Bagan are still a very good team but in a way, I think that we have a slight advantage when it comes to the weather," he said, replying to a query on whether the weather would support the home side.


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