The visitors are currently sitting in the second last position of the standings.
Debutants Real Kashmir FC, currently placed fifth on the 12th Hero I-League points table with 10 points from six games, will look to make the most of an extended home run when they take on a young and dangerous foreigner-less Shillong Lajong on Tuesday, December 11, 2018, at the TRC turf ground in Srinagar. The game is scheduled for a 2 PM IST kick-off.
Kashmir will be playing their sixth home game on the trot before football returns to the cold Kashmir valley in end-January after a 47-day break. They have notched up two wins, one draw and two defeats in the five games so far and would be eager to get a third win against Shillong before they hit the road.
The visitors, who are placed 10th out of 11 teams after collecting a mere four points from seven games, are more dangerous than their position suggests and Kashmir will have to be at their very best to get a positive result against Alison Kharsyntiew’s young and talented side.
David Robertson, the home team’s Scottish coach will want his team to score more goals, to begin with, having registered just four so far. His go-to man for goals, Ivorian striker Gnohere Krizo, has struck just once in their opening win against Champions Minerva and Ghanaian Abednedo Koffi is just about finding his feet after being drafted into the squad very recently.
Robertson has put together a tight defence though led by his son Mason Robertson and Nigerian Loveday Okechukwu, having conceded just three till date and that should hold them in good stead against a dangerous Shillong forward line which has scored nine times.
The coach reflected all those aspirations and concerns in the pre-game chat saying, “With two good wins, we managed to turn the chances in the goal. Tomorrow’s game is also a difficult game as every game is. We have to defend well.”
“It is the last home game in six weeks, so it is important to send our supporters home, happy with another win. Shillong score goals, they create chances and they concede goals as well. They are well organised, they got speed and they create chances.”
Alison Kharsyntiew’s problems stem from the league’s most profligate defence, probably where the inexperience of his young home-grown side is showing the most having conceded a massive 16 goals in their seven games.
Aibanbha Kupar has been the bulwark of the Shillong back four but the likes of Kharshong, Novin Gurung and Khongsit clearly need to step it up more. Their captain and midfield general Samuel Lalmuanpuia has a very talented attack line to play with and in Phrangki Buam, who has scored thrice so far, they have probably unearthed a future star.
Clearly enjoying the Kashmir experience, Alison looked in good spirits and eager to put up a good show disclosing in the pre-game chat, “It’s a different experience and very excited to play in Kashmir. The weather is not an issue for us, it’s almost the same as Shillong.”
“Hopefully, we will be playing a good game tomorrow. We will be looking to bounce back and our main objective is to win. But its difficult against Real Kashmir as they are a very good team”, he added.
Kashmir go into the game with a couple of wins under their belt while Shillong are coming off a home loss to Neroca so the home side definitely have the advantage on all fronts. To add to that is added incentive of going up to third in the standings if a win comes their way.
The debutants do not have any major injury scare at the moment and are raring to go into the game.
The Meghalaya-based side also does not have any injury concerns. However, Hardy is expected to replace Hnamte in the starting XI against the Leopards.
Real Kashmir- Bilal (GK), Ravanan, Robertson, Loveday, Khalid, Krizo, Bazie, Surchandra, Tetteh, Thapa, Tamang
Shillong Lajong- Neithovilie (GK), Pradhan, Lalrohlua, Rabha, Lalmuanpuia, Kynshi, Buam, Gurung, Hardy, Dohling, Kenstar
The game kicks off at 2 PM IST on Tuesday at TRC Ground. The game will be telecasted live on Star Sports 3 along with Hotstar and Jio TV.