Rock-bottom Gokulam faces stern Shillong challenge

Shillong Lajong has an opportunity to move up to third with a win.

Gokulam Kerala FC, practising ahead of its I-League match against Shillong Lajong at Kozhikode on Sunday.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

With its spirited show in the last two games, Gokulam Kerala FC may finally have given something to its fans to cheer about, but it faces a particularly tough challenge at the Corporation Stadium on Sunday.

Shillong Lajong, placed fifth in the I-League table, has come here right after ending Neroca’s remarkable run of nine games without a defeat. The 2-0 away win, three days ago at Imphal, was the fifth in the league for the Meghalaya side.

Read: Shillong ends Neroca's unbeaten run

The host has scored just two wins thus far and is lying right at the bottom. The second of those wins had come at Coimbatore in the last match, against Chennai City FC. That was a badly needed victory too, after five straight losses.

But, Gokulam was distinctly unlucky to lose to Churchill Brothers in its last home match, a fortnight ago. In a thrilling five-goal match, it was undone by a penalty in the injury time.

Its coach Bino George exuded confidence ahead of the match against Lajong. “The team is confident now, after the victory against Chennai,” he said. “The arrival of Musa Mudde has stabilised our midfield.”

Lajong’s assistant coach Alison Kharsyntiew said his team was prepared for its match against Gokulam, the hot weather notwithstanding (the kick-off is at 2 p.m.). “It is not like Shillong, but you have to adapt quickly to the different conditions you encounter in the I-League,” he said. “It will be a tough match with Gokulam. And we need to be more consistent in the league.”

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