Shillong Lajong bracing up for Mumbai challenge in I-League (Preview)

Shillong, Jan 27 (IANS) Shillong Lajong will face their first test at home when they take on Mumbai FC in a Hero I-League match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Saturday.

On a high after beating Minerva in the fourth round contest following three successive defeats, the hosts are desperately looking to carry the momentum forward when they lock horns with fifth-placed Mumbai.

The visitors, meanwhile, will also be under certain pressure considering that they come into the away match on the back of a discouraging home defeat against Aizawl FC.

Mumbai, who started the season brightly, have now lost two of their four matches on the trot and Saturday’s encounter assumes significance for Santosh Kashyap’s men to ensure that the side does not slip further in the standings.

While Lajong are seventh in the standings with three points of four matches, Mumbai have six points ahead of their fifth tie of the season.

Ahead of the crucial tie, SLFC coach Thangboi Singto warned that if his boys were to take home full points from the Mumbai encounter, they have to be on their toes for full 90 minutes.

Singto referred to the poor second half outing against Minerva in the last game which almost cost them the match.

Heaping praises on his Mumbai counterpart Santosh Kashyap, Singot said Mumbai will be a tough opponent to deal with but Lajong would do its best to exploit the home advantage.

Singot hinted that he might want to retain the same playing XI for Saturday’s encounter.

Meanwhile, Mumbai coach Kashyap said Shillong is the toughest place for an away side with the weather and home support adding to the home side’s advantage.

Kashyap brushed aside talks of pressure on his side, stating “you cannot win all the matches.”

He, however, admitted that conversion has been a problem for his side which has not scored in the last two outings.

On Saturday, Lajong will miss out on the services Dan Ignat and Zodingliana while Mumbai will have to manage without Kimkima and Pratesh Shirodkar.

–IANS

pur/vt

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