The Shillong Derby is back as the second-leg will be hosted by Rangdajied United FC in Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Monday at 3pm.
The encounter promises to be a tight contest as Rangdajied United will be hoping to avoid relegation as a point at minimum will be enough to prevent them from remaining in the relegation zone. Unlike Lajong FC, this will also be the final game of the season for Rangdajied United and hence they are expected to go all out against their local rivals. Lajong meanwhile are currently placed fifth in the table and will be looking to cement a top five finish this season as a top seven finish is already secured for the Reds.
When the two sides previously met in the first-ever Shillong I-League derby last November, the match ended in a 1-1 draw. Yohei Iwasaki had given Rangdajied United the lead but Boithang Haokip came to the rescue for the Reds with the equaliser.
In the last I-league match, Shillong Lajong FC registered a sensational 5-4 win over bottom placed Mohammedan Sporting Club. Trinidad & Tobago international striker Cornell Glen bagged his first-ever I-League hattrick while Subash Singh scored a brace which helped the Reds climb into fifth position in the standings. But it was a different affair for Rangdajied United when they visited Kolkata as they went down 2-1 to Mohammedan Sporting.
Shillong Lajong FC head coach Thangboi Singto believes that Monday’s match is the most important one as it will give Lajong FC the chance to finish in the top five.
Commenting on Monday’s match he said, “We need to prepare our best for a top five finish.”
“Rangdajied has done better than us at home. They have top players in each position. Coach Hering is a very good and experienced Coach. It will be a difficult game for us but all the players will give their hundred percent”, Thangboi added.
The boys know what is at stake as the league proceeds to its end. They have been training very hard and Coach Thangboi stressed on the fact that the team has to be defensively compact and should not concede early in the match.
“Rangdajied has good strikers but we also have strikers who can score at any moment. But the team who is more hungry for a win , will come out as victors,” he concluded.
Even though the Reds are in fifth position with 32 points, they are in the process of creating its own history as a win will take them to fourth position in the league with one more game left to play. Thus the game promises to be an exciting clash between the two sides. Whilst its a chance for Lajong to flex their muscles and move up as high as 5th on the table, Rangdajied United in 10th position with 24 points will be more desperate to secure all three points from the game with their I-League status on the line.