After securing the three points in their opening fixture of the Hero I-League against Gokulam Kerala FC, Shillong Lajong FC is all set and running to face Churchill Brothers Goa in their second home fixture in what is expected to be a high octane clash on 2nd December at JN Stadium Shillong at 5:30 PM.
Lajong, on Monday, defeated Gokulam FC 1-0 and were quite dominating throughout the game with the young squad showing their worth in the top tier. Lajong Academy products namely, Kynsailang Khongsit, Rakesh Pradhan, Phurba Lachenpa and Samuel Lyngdoh Kynshi made their I-League debuts.
Shillong Lajong’s new foreign signings – Laurence Doe, Juho Oh, Daniel Odafin and Aiman Al Hagri also played their first I-League match last Monday and looked very promising.
Although, the head to head record between the two teams lies in favour of Churchill Brothers with 2 wins while Lajong winning just once and two draws from the 5 matches played in Shillong, the home team is expected to bring the best out of their energetic youngsters and the experienced foreigners.
With an average age of just 21 years, Shillong Lajong will rely heavily on the attacking services of their captain Samuel Lalmuanpuia, Redeem Tlang and their foreign recruit from Yemen, Aiman Al Hagri.
The Lajong defence has shaped up much better this season. The central defender, Juho Oh along with Laurence Doe will be given the duty to keep the Churchill attack from penetrating.
Daniel Odafin and Hardy Nongbri shall continue to supply upfront and help the forwards finish the chances into goals.
Coach Alison spoke well of his young squad in the pre-match press conference and said, “Our squad is very young but very energetic and creative. In the first game, they performed very well. We hope they continue working hard as well as learn from each game.”
Alison also said that his boys have gained more confidence after the first win and have been training hard to make it two in two in their opening two home fixtures. “After the win on Monday, the boys have gained more confidence. But now our main focus is the next match against Churchill.”
“The boys have recovered well from the first match and we have been training hard. We are ready for our second home match,” Alison further added.
Churchill Brothers finished 6th behind Lajong in the last season and were defeated 1-0 in this fixture when they visited Shillong on February 5 in 2017.
“Churchill is a good team and always a tough side to play and we want to get three points from this game,” Alison said being wary of the importance of this match. “We need to put in more efforts especially in attack and defence right from the first minute till the end of the game,” he added.
Churchill Brothers retained some of their Indian players from last season and have signed new foreign players for the I-League 2017/18 season. Three foreigners are from Nigeria; defender Osagie, midfielder Peter Omoduemuke and striker Eric Nwaimo. They also signed Emuejeraye Precious from Singapore and brought in Vietnam midfielder, Dinh Van Ta.
Churchill Brothers head coach Shevchenko from Ukraine is a former defender of Churchill Brothers and also played for Dempo in the 2001 season.
At the pre-match press conference, the Churchill head coach said, “We haven’t had too much time to prepare as the foreigners arrived late but with the Indian players the preparation has been good.”
“It is a fresh team and we will get better game by game”, he concluded.