The Red and Gold will be eyeing a place in the competition’s showpiece…

East Bengal will take on Shillong Lajong’s academy side in the semi-final of the Bordoloi Trophy at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Guwahati tomorrow.

East Bengal were supposed to face Lajong in the last four clash on Thursday but the team management refused to play and threatened to pull out of the competition if the game was not preponed. They wanted to have an extra day’s rest between the semi-final and finals.

The EB gaffer Ranjan Chaudhari hinted at playing the same XI which was fielded against ASEB Sports Club whom the Red and Gold brigade defeated 3-0. Injured custodian Luis Barreto will make way for Dibyendu Sarkar BETWEEN THE STICKS.

On the other hand, Shillong Lajong also remained unbeaten in the group stage with one win and two draws. They won against Nagaland’s Flamengo 3-0 but drew against Oil India and 3 Star Cub of Nepal. It would be a challenge for Lajong to overcome the invincible run of East Bengal.

Lajong came into this tournament with their academy side as their senior team is busy playing in the Shillong Premier League. It would be a huge achievement for these young players if they can beat East Bengal and reach the Final.

East Bengal manager Chaudhuri said, “I am worried about my players’ tiredness. They had to play a match every two days which is very hectic. I have asked my boys to be calm and composed and treat this as just another fixture.”
Regarding the Lajong side, the tactician added, “They are a young side with good quality players. Academy boys always have that extra bit of energy to prove themselves and cement a place in the senior team. I have asked my boys to be careful of that.”

Meanwhile, Lajong Head Coach Thangboi Singto said, “I am very happy that the boys have entered the semi-final. They have played good football but we need to play good football consistently for 90 minutes. We are ready for East Bengal. We need to hold strongly and confidently at the back, control midfield and convert our chances. If we are able to do all of this then we have a good chance to win. Overall it will be a tough match but the boys are in good form and I believe they will do well.”