The Meghalaya-based side have registered only 10 points this season, while the South Indian outfit have notched 13 points.
In, what could be called, a battle to save grace from relegation, Shillong Lajong FC take on Gokulam Kerala at the JLN Nehru Stadium, Shillong on Friday, February 22, 2019 with both teams now looking to finish as high on the table as possible, title aspirations having long gone.
Both teams are looking to get out of relegation zone, as the high-pressure game is scheduled for a 5 PM kick-off under lights at the JLN Stadium, Shillong.
Looking at the head to head this season, in their only encounter against Gokulam Kerala FC, Shillong had to face a 2-3 loss at the EMS Corporation Stadium in Calicut. Kerala who would have the odds to their favour having defeated Shillong Lajong FC earlier would look to capitalise on this psychological advantage to walk away with all the three points again.
Shillong Lajong FC would look forward to walk away with the three points to somehow reduce the relegation pressure. Shillong are currently placed at the bottom of the Hero I-League Points table with 10 points from 17 games. What also adds to their concern is the defence line who have conceded 48 goals so far.
Gokulam Kerala FC are placed just above Shillong Lajon FC in the points table with a three-point cushion. Gokulam Kerala’s performance has seen some positive change ever since the appointment of their new technical director Gift Raikhan. Gokulam Kerala FC is currently placed 10th with 13 points playing one game fewer.
Technical director, Gift Raikhan said, “It’s very important for Gokulam to get the 3 points. Prestige and dream are high as we are fighting for relegation. We as well as Lajong are at the bottom so it’s important for both the teams. we will give our best tomorrow. This is my fifth match, as a coach, I always prepare for winning the game, rest is on God.”
“Football is all about who plays better it’s not about Indian or foreign players”, he further added.
Shillong’s major concern has been the finishing capability in the final third. But the young Red Devils are known for their fighting spirit and creative ball play, an area where Gokulam Kerala would want to pay a lot of attention. The combination of Ktboklang Pale, Phrangki Buam and Mahesh Singh Naorem have been threatening to every team that they have played against, and given the situation, this trio can change the scenario on their day.
At the pre-match press conference, coach Alison said, “It’s all about preparing ourselves mentally and play well tomorrow. At the end of the 90 mins, the best team wins. Our boys will hopefully play well tomorrow and get 3 points. They have to concentrate and be mentally prepared to play well.”
While Gokulam Kerala’s armoury also consists of the striker from T&T Marcus Joseph, who scored in the previous game against Arrows, and has already scored three goals in five games so far. The local talent Suhair VP and Rajesh who scored in their 3-2 win against Shillong Lajong in their last encounter will also add the extra might in the Keralite outfit’s dressing room.
Goalkeeper Phurba Lachenpa is injured and will miss out from the team roster. Rakesh Pradhan and Samuel Lalmuanpuia are fit again.
Gokulam go into this match with almost a fully-fit squad.
Chalieu (GK), Lalrohlua, Khongsit, Rabha, Pale, Kynshi, Naorem, Buam, Novin, Dohling, Kenstar.
Arnab (GK), Deepak, Addo, Mohamed, Joseph, Suhair, Fabien, Imran, Russel, Lalmuankima, Mehtab.
The match will kick-off at 5:00 PM tomorrow, in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. It will be live streamed by Hotstar and Jio TV.