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Lajong continued their dominance in the second half and the game got interesting when Dicka pulled one back. But, as much as they huffed and puffed East Bengal held on for a vital three points. It wasn’t their best performance for the Red and Gold. Infact they hardly produced anything noteworthy in attack. But, Payne was the opportunist who bagged a brace and three vital points for his team. Its good evening from Shillong.

90+4′ There goes the the whistle for fulltie and another massive three points for EB.

90+3′ Lajong free-kick clipped in but nobody attacks it at the back post. EB concede a corner but nothing comes of it.

90+1′ We are into four minutes of added time.

88′ There has to be one more good chance for Lajong.

95′ A straight plays in Rupert in a one-on-one who skies his shot what an opportunity.

84′ Tamang with a ball into the box well controlled by Dicka wwhose overhead kick ids straight at Rehenesh.

82′ Substitution East Bengal Payne off Romeo on.

81′ Substitution Lajong Fabio off Rupert on.

79′ Payne and Sana Singh jump for the same ball and Sana gets booked for a flaying arms that floors the midfielder.

77′ Substitution East Bengal Gurwinder off Anwar on.

75′ Ball played forward by Lajong and as Rehenesh comes a melae ensues but EB gets a couple of blocks in and Rehenesh catches it.

72′ Samuel with a shot from distance that’s swirving all over the place and Rehenesh has to tip over for a corner which is cleared. Next Dicka is fouled and gets a free-kick in a good position. Issac’s shot comes back of the wall.

70′ Ribert gets a yellow for timewasting. A bit early for that with 20 minutes to go.

67′ Lajong now pushing for the equaliser and this one is nicely setup

64′ Samuel with a perfect cross for Dicka. Rehenesh comes and doesn’t get there. The striker has the easiest of finishes. Game on.

61′ Past the hour mark and thegame has gone a bit flat in the last few minutes.

59′ Two suvccessive Lajong cormners, the second of which is taken short. Kinowaki cross doesn’t get past the first man Poojary who takes on his face.

55′ Two successive EB cprners but nothings comes off them.

54′ Samuel kicks out and Gurwinder after a tackle and gets away without a card wow.

51′ Shot from disytance for Lajong but iver.

50′ At the other end Roin tees up Payne who shots wide with the goal gaping.

48′ Another cross from the right just behind Dicka and nobody makes the run at the far post.

46′ Back on in the second half and an early ball played in for Lajong but nothing doing.

Strange half. Lajong with all the play but EB with the goals. Issac has put in some quality crosses from the left. Bipin and Samuel have been lively as well, but this has not been Dick’s best game in a Shillong shirt. East Bengal haven’t been spectacular in attack but they have been opportunistic and Payne has been jolly on the spot for his brace. Back in a bit.

45+3′ There goes the whist;e for halftime.

45+2′ Isaac with another inviting ball in and Dicka fails to connect with what would have been a tap in.

45+1′ We are into two minutes of added time.

43′ Bipin with a shot from just outside the box but its well wide.

41′ The hosts have done all the attacking but its EB who have the goals.

39′ Fabio barges into Payne with a strong challenge and a few words are exchanged.

37′ Lajong free-kick from range but straight at Rehenesh.

34′ Payne nicks the the ball from Fabio and tees up Rafique and his shot from distance is just over.

33′ GOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL East Bengal. Free-kickclipped into the box and headed on by Rafique and Payne smashes it in for his brace.

31′ Samuel’s cross from the left edgeof the box is half cleared. Fabio tries to hook it back towards Dicka but Gurwinder goes in ith a brave block and gets a knock.

28′ Pritam’s ball forward is missed by Bukenya but rolls through to Rehenesh.

27′ Issac with a corner and in the melae that ensues Fabio has two good chances. Gets his feet in a tangle in a tangle on the firsyt one before the second shot is blocked.

24′ Bipin Singh with a lovely ball to Samuel in the box but he can’t control it and it skips away into touch.

21′ Another cross in and this time Bipin Singh shoots over on the half volley.

18′ The hosts are getting their share of the chances there’s a long way to go in this match.

16′ Its been a whirlwind start to this game with action at both ends.

14′ Dicka wants a penalty after he goes down in the box under challenge from Gurwinder but the referee says nothing doig. Infact the strikker just tripped on his own feet.

12′ Anoth lovely cross from Issac who puts it on a plate for Dicka who can’t whose header goes wide.

10′ Gurung’s clearance hits Mehtab in the face and he gets some treatment but play resumes.
9′ GOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL East Bengal. Kaith spil a simple cross and is out of position. Robin squares to Payne who finishes with simplicity
7′ Issac with a ball down the line for Bipin Singh who crosses in and Fabio gers ahead of VBukenya but can’t direct his shot on target.
5′ You get the feeling that midfield is going to be crucial in this game as well as the battle of the two men up top, Dicka and Robin.
3′ Lajong with an early cross in which is easily cleared.
1′ We have kickoff in Shillong.
04:35pm The teams are out and kickoff is next.
04:30pm Remember with Aizawl winning est Bengal need to win trhis one to keep pace at thye top of the table..
04:25pm East Bengal Starting XI: Rahenesh TP (GK), Robin Gurung, Ivan Bukenya, Christopher Payne Baden, MD Rafique, Rowllin Borges, Mehtab Hossian, Gurwinder Singh, Robert Lalthlamuana, Robin Singh, Nikhil Poojary.
Substitutes: Subhasish Roy, Jackichand Singh, Narayan Das, Lalrindika Ralte, Romeo Fernandes, Abinash Ruidas, Anwar Ali.  
Shillong Lajong Starting XI – Vishal Kiath (GK), Nim Dorjee (C), Sana Konsham, Pritam Kumar, Samuel Shadap, Yuta Kinowaki, Isaac, Samuela, Bipin Singh, Aser Dipanda Dicka, Fabio Pena.
Substitutes: Phurba Lachenpa (GK), Alen Doery, Rocus Lamare, Dan Ignat, Aiborlang Khongjee, Rupert Nongrum, Redeem Tlang. 

04:20pm Let’s get you the team’s right away.

04:15 pm: Hello and welcome to the I-League game between East Bengal FC vs Shillong Lajong FC. This is your host Punit Tripathi from Shillong Stadium. You can read the match preview till we go live with the live commentary.

After some very inconsistent performances at the start of the season, Shillong Lajong are one of the form teams of the present I-League campaign. The Reds have been in a red-hot form at home this year, winning four out of their five matches so far. However, their away performances have been awful to say the least as the Meghalaya-based club have only managed to salvage four points from the four away matches they have played,  the last of which being the 4-1 thrashing against newcomers Chennai City FC. Despite the disastrous result against Chennai, Lajong are hopeful of getting back on track by winning their next league clash against East Bengal on Saturday. Lajong are currently in fourth position in the league standings and will be vying for nothing less than three points against the league leaders in their den.

On the opposite side of the same coin, East Bengal are currently finding it very difficult to maintain their leading position in the league table. Since the prestigious Kolkata Derby last month, the Kolkata giants have played three matches, winning only one of them, which has put them in a dangerous situation with both Aizawl FC and arch-rivals Mohun Bagan in the title race. Add to that, injury concerns have been a vile point for the Kolkata-based club in recent times, which is bound to put a wrinkle or two in East Bengal’s approach towards the game. However, the Red and Gold have boosted by a stunning 1-3 win away to reigining cjampions Bengaluru FC last time out.

Team News

Lajong have no fresh injury concerns and boss Thangboi Singto has a full squad to pick from. Returning defender Aiborlang Khongjee who has re-signed for the club will feature in the 18-man squad.

Injuries have been a real concern for the Red and Gold brigade since the beginning of the season and the hosts will be missing a key player in Wedson Anselme against Shillong Lajong on Saturday. Star defender Ivan Bukenya is also  doubtful against the Shillong-based team after being diagnosed with an ear problem. Willis Plaza is another name who might miss the game against Shillong Lajong due to match fitness issues. However, veteran midfielder Cavin Lobo has come back from injury and is a part of the 18-man team that will play against Lajong.

Head to Head

East Bengal and Shillong Lajong have faced off 17 times in all competitions to date. East Bengal have won the majority of the encounters with seven wins under their belt compared to Lajong’s six wins over them. The remaining four matches were drawn between these two teams.

Coaches’ Corner

Thangboi Singto-Shillong Lajong: Despite a dream run at home, Lajong head coach Thangboi Singto is aware of the challenge at the store tomorrow and minced no words when he said, “The match against East Bengal will be our biggest test so far.”

“Till now we have beaten teams which are below us in the standings. To improve our position we have to beat sides which are ahead of us. So that way it’s a crucial encounter tomorrow,” Singto said in the pre-match conference here today.

The Lajong gaffer also lavished praises on the opponents stating that the Red & Golds are the most balanced side in the I-League this season and have a strong bench. Singto, however, underlined that Lajong have a good record against the Red and Golds and the hosts can net full three points tomorrow.

Trevor Morgan-East Bengal: Trevor Morgan stated that his boys will have their task cut out in Shillong. Asserting that the table-toppers tag did not put any additional pressure on his side, Morgan said, “It’s all up to us. We know we are in a good position and we know what we need to do tomorrow. But nevertheless, we expect a very tough game.”

Replying to a query on East Bengal’s not-so-good track record against the Reds, Morgan said, “We can’t hide behind a bad track record. We can’t give excuses.’ The visiting coach said though every game is a must-win from here on, there will be a lot of twists and turns as the season progresses. “There are still 21 points to play for and all we can do is what we can do,” he said while replying to whether East Bengal were under pressure on account of their title ambitions.

Man to Watch

Asier Dipanda Dicka-Shillong Lajong FC: The former DSK Shivajians forward is currently enjoying a purple patch of his career. The Cameroonian forward has scored eight goals in the league this season and is also the top scorer of the I-League. Dipanda is a well-known figure in the country for his goal scoring ability, pace, runs both on and off the ball. A visionary footballer, Dipanda also is a master of pinpoint passes which has been effective for Shillong Lajong to score important goals in the League this season. If displayed a similar performance as the past few games, Dipanda is sure to steal all the limelight for himself against East Bengal on Saturday.

Gurwinder Singh-East Bengal: The veteran defender has been one of the most stable pillars of the Kolkata giants this year. The 30-year old defender has shown excellent defensive abilities while dealing with counter-attacks, solely because his defensive partner in the central defensive pair (Ivan Bukenya) is a ball playing defender and likes to go on forward runs. Singh is known for his positional sense, in which he has excelled several times this season, covering the entire central defense left vacant momentarily by Bukenya against fast playing teams such as their next opponents Lajong. The Jalandhar-born defender is also a dependable name while making clearances and tackles and is one of the best in the league in terms of marking the opposition forwards. With the league’s leading goal scorer Asier Dipanda Dicka playing for the opposition on Saturday, Gurwinder is set to be the make-or-break point for the Red and Gold brigade and holds the outcome of the match upon his shoulders.

Probable Lineups

Shillong Lajong FC (4-2-3-1): Kaith (GK), S.Singh, Tamang, K.Singh, Shadap, Nongrum, Vanmalsawma, Kinowaki, Deory, B.Singh, Dipanda.

East Bengal FC (4-4-2): Rehnesh (GK), Gurung, Gurwinder, Mondal, Das, Mehtab, Borges, Poojary, Rafique, Robin, Payne.