Lajong aim for success under lights

By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: The stage is set for Shillong Lajong FC as they head into a 23rd round I-League clash with ONGC in the first ever SLFC match to be played under the newly-installed flood-lights at the JN Stadium, Polo, at 5pm on Sunday.

Lajong are in 11th position with 21 points while the visitors are in seventh place with 29 points.

In a pre-match press conference that was held on Saturday, Shillong Lajong FC coach Thangboi Singto said, “With the type of football we’re playing now we’ll see some changes and positive results and we’ll do well, hopefully, I believe.”

SLFC have not had the best record in away matches, but, following the lengthy in-season break, the team returned to action with two exciting draws against top teams Pune FC and Mohun Bagan.

Asked about what has changed in his team, Singto said, “The players are all technically and tactically good players. Nothing has much changed. When you have the ball you work hard as a team, but most importantly, when we don’t have the ball you work harder as a team – that’s in defence. That’s our plan.”

He gave full credit to his players for the improvement in the team’s performance and he also described Sunday’s fixture as a historical moment for football in Shillong.

“Now it is up to us as a team not to disappoint the fans,” Singto said.

Just four matches are left for Lajong in the League this season (including only two home games) and they are not safe yet as far as relegation is concerned, so the players will need to put their best foot forward come Sunday.

Two teams below SLFC in the standings are also playing on Sunday – Air India (in 12th) will face Mumbai FC away, while bottom dwellers Bagan also face an away game at Sporting Clube de Goa.

Singto also praised the four foreign players in the team. He described Edinho Junior as “the star of the Portuguese under 19 team” and added that Lajong are stronger thanks to his inclusion.

The coach also called the Japanese players “fighters” and said they give 100 percent whether in a training session or during a match.

Lajong’s opponents on Sunday have been in good form, recently, winning twice and drawing twice in their last five matches.

Their coach Santosh Kashyap said that playing Lajong in Shillong is always a tough proposition and he added that he has been keeping tabs on their recent performance.

“In the last two matches I have seen them play very well, drawing with top teams and playing with more confidence, so I expect a good game,” he said.

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