The Mariners Look to continue their scintillating form and go top of the league…
Mohun Bagan aim to keep their surge towards the top alive when they travel to play Shillong Lajong at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Wednesday. The Mariners are enjoying some brilliant form at the right end of the season and can gain a 2 point lead over Aizawl FC at the top of the table if they overcome the threat of this young and dangerous Shillong side.
Both sides were victorious at the weekend in Round 15, as Shillong solidified their top-3 hopes with a fighting 3-2 away win against DSK Shivajians, while Mohun Bagan ousted their city rivals East Bengal to leap over them to the 2nd spot in the table. This match definitely has a lot hanging in the balance with the Mariners and Lajong both eyeing a win, and the teams’ attacking style of football could make for a treat for the fans.
Shillong Lajong FC fielded a strong team in their impressive last-minute win against DSK Shivajians on Saturday and only have Brazilian midfielder Fabio Pena on the injury list at the moment. Because of his stunning goal in the dying minutes in the weekend, Redeem Tiang might get a start in the front 3 this week as to both Bipin Singh and star striker Aser Dipanda looked pretty inefficient on Saturday.
Lajong are currently 4 points off the 3rd place, and they’ll need a win to boost their own chances of making the top 3 of I-League at the end of the season.
Mohun Bagan are themselves missing some key players in left-back Subhashish Bose, pacy winger Kean Lewis and most importantly their rock-solid midfielder Pronay Halder who is still out with an injury. While Bose might make it back in time for Bagan’s next match away to Minerva Punjab, the return dates of the other two are quite uncertain.
The Mariners are on the back of a decisive derby win but will make some changes and give rest to certain players because they have the means to do so. Jeje Lalpekhlua didn’t start on the weekend and will probably get a start this time out, while Souvik Chakraborty might get back into the lineup as well.
Head To Head
Mohun Bagan have had Shillong Lajong’s number every time they’ve met in the past few years, Bagan has winning 2 out of their last 3 matches. The last time these two sides met at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium, Kolkata in January, Lajong were rocked by a brace from Bagan’s prolific striker Darryl Duffy as The Mariners cruised to a 2-0 victory.
This fixture, last year, had ended in a goal-less draw. Shillong has failed to defeat the Mariners at home in the past few years, and they’ll look to change this record and get their first win over the Mariners.
Thangboi Singto (Shillong Lajong FC): “Tomorrow’s game will be tough. Our home record is good and we need to keep that up. Having said that Mohun Bagan is on fire at the moment with their current performances and we need to play much better than we did against DSK.”
Sanjoy Sen (Mohun Bagan): “All the matches that we play from here on will like virtual finals. Lajong have always shown character against us and tomorrow’s match will be one of the toughest this season. We will give it our best.”
Man To Watch
Shillong Lajong- Aser Dipanda
Aser Dipanda has been a revelation for Shilong Lajong FC, as the powerful Cameroonian Striker has improved the attack of Lajong multi-fold. The former DSK Shivajians man was signed by Lajong this season and it turned out to be an excellent one, as he’s currently the top scorer of the I-League so far with 9 goals in 14 games for Lajong. Dipanda’s amazing eye for goal and ability to shrug off any defender could turn out be a nightmare for Bagan, who looked a bit shaky at the back in the final minutes of their match against East Bengal. The Cameroonian striker will look to regain form against the best team in the league currently and improve his chances of ending the season as the best striker in the league.
Mohun Bagan- Jeje Lalpekhlua
Jeje Lalpekhlua was surprisingly left out of the starting line-up in Bagan’s derby win over East Bengal on Sunday, as the Indian sensation has somewhat gone off the grid in recent weeks. With Balwant Singh and Darryl Duffy both preferred over him at the moment, he needs to seize his opportunity when he starts against Shillong Lajong and prove why the Mariners hold him in such high regard. Jeje has scored 4 goals in his 12 games in the I-League so far and will look to increase that tally against Lajong, who looked defensively vulnerable against DSK Shivajians and ended up conceding two goals as well. The 2016 AIFF Player of the Year needs to show everyone exactly why he attained that honor and turn up the magic to make sure The Mariners stride forward to 1st place.
Shillong Lajong: Kaith, Shadap, S. Singh, Tamang, K.Singh, Isaac, Kinowaki, Nongrum, Samuela, Dipanda, Tiang
Mohun Bagan: Majumder, Kotal, Ferreira, Edathodika, Gaikwad, Katsumi, Singh, Chakraborty, Norde, Jeje, Duffy.
The Match will be telecast on Ten 2 at 4.35 PM on Wednesday. You can follow live updates of the match on www.khelnow.com.