The Mariners have drawn two and lost one on their own turf this campaign.
After the Kolkata Derby debacle last weekend, Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan have already picked themselves up with an away win against defending champions Minerva Punjab a few days ago. Meanwhile, Shillong Lajong have not been so lucky, as they were thrashed 6-1 in their previous game against Real Kashmir and now lock horns against the Mariners in one of their toughest league fixtures of the season on Sunday.
Prior to the game, head coaches from both sides met the media for a press conference. Here are the excerpts:
Sankarlal Chakraborty (Mohun Bagan)
The Mohun Bagan boss Sankarlal Chakraborty revealed that the Mariners are not taking Shillong Lajong lightly as he started, “Winning a game after the derby gave us confidence. We are not thinking if Lajong have foreigners. We need three points tomorrow.”
“We are not in a good position at the moment in the league, so we have to win tomorrow,” Chakraborty added.
Bagan are currently facing a peculiar situation, as they have not won any of their home games this season. Out of their eight games, the Mariners have played three at home, drawing two and losing one in the process.
“(We are) Not thinking about whether they have foreigners. We have not won at home, so we have to win tomorrow,” he said. “We are trying our best and hopefully now good times will start,” the Mohun Bagan boss added.
Sankarlal also went on to complain about how his side have been plagued by a lack of luck this season, “Other than the last match, we didn’t have any luck. Only in the last match even after hitting the post thrice we won. Hopefully, things will improve.”
Chakraborty also confirmed that youth sensation Pintu Mahata and forward Sony Norde will miss the game against Shillong Lajong. “Pintu is improving. He will start practicing with the ball after two days. Sony will undergo a medical test either today or tomorrow. After that, we will have clarity on his condition,” he revealed.
“We never think about the table. I was never worried. It’s a long league and ups and downs will happen. If we win matches we will go up the table,” he concluded.
Alison Kharsyntiew (Shillong Lajong)
Since the beginning of the league this year, Shillong Lajong have failed to impress in most of their games, as they went down to the bottom of the standings. The Reds have only won a single match, despite which their head coach Alison Kharsyntiew did not seem concerned with the lack of results.
“I am looking for development of young players. They work hard and in some games they perform well. In some games, our defence is doing very well, but we are working hard on that,” he started.
Despite Mohun Bagan’s lack of a win at home this season, the Lajong tactician revealed that the game will be hard for his side on Sunday evening. “Playing against Mohun Bagan in their home is tough. We will try to win at least a point,” Kharsyntiew told the press.
The Lajong boss was asked about his side’s devastating loss against Real Kashmir in the last game and he answered, “It is difficult to come back from a 6-1 defeat, but tomorrow is a new day, new challenge for us,” he concluded.
The Mariners will miss the services of ace forward Sony Norde against the Reds. The Haitian picked up an injury before the Kolkata Derby last weekend and is expected to be out for two weeks.
Apart from Norde, young sensation Pintu Mahata will be the other absentee for Bagan against Lajong. However, defender Kingsley Eze will be back in the squad after serving his suspension.
Shillong Lajong do not have any major injury concerns currently, however, a few tactical changes can be expected from them.
Mohun Bagan– Sankar (GK), Kingsley, Yuta, Ambekar, Bagui, Sourav, Dicka, Kisekka, Kimkima, Omar, Raynier
Shillong Lajong– Neithovillie (GK), Rakesh, Pale, Dohling, Gurung, Hnamte, Lalrohlua, Kynshi, Buam, Samuel, Sohktung
The game kicks-off at 5 PM IST on Sunday at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. The game will be telecasted live on Star Sports 3 and can also be streamed on Hotstar and Jio TV.