As the team from the North-East sets its eyes on all the three points up for grab, Pailan Arrows is also expected to give out a tough challenge....
SHILLONG LAJONG FC
Lallawmzuala, Passah, Son, Mawia;
Chitrasen, Hmar, Lyngdoh, Jibon;
The Salt Lake stadium of Kolkata will witness a fight today between the mid-table teams Pailan Arrows and Shillong Lajong. A win in this match could take both teams in a more respectable position who have 15 points in their kitty with Shillong having played one game more.
Pailan Arrows, the developmental team of All India Football Federation ( AIFF) were the surprise package in the first half of the season. They were even in the top four after the initial six rounds. However, the team seemed to have lost the plot as the season progressed. The team was one of the weakest sides in the previous few editions. But under their current coach Arthur Papas they had looked more balanced and determined.
They have not been able to retain their initial form and found themselves swaying in between the mediocre positions of the points table. Their last win came in the 9th round of the campaign.
They have a talented bunch of players but of late the young Indian players have struggled to cope up with their foreign counterparts. In the first half of the season, the duo of Alwyn George and Holicharan Narzary had been scoring goals regularly but are undergoing a goal drought currently. The problem lies in the midfield, where the team lacks a playmaker who can keep the ball and dictate the play.
defense has also been shaky, conceding more goals as the league has progressed. It has to been whether Papas injects a new strategy against the Lajong side.
On the other hand, Shillong Lajong had held a strong Dempo SC side to a 0-0 draw in the last match. They will try to continue to retain their form and defeat an unsettled Pailan side.
The responsibility of scoring will largely rely on Friday Gbeneme, who has been the highest scorer for the side in this edition of I-League scoring 5 goals. Sushil Kumar is second in the list after Friday. However, the Indian striker had missed the last match due to suspension. His return will certainly bolster the team’s confidence.
The team has only won 3 matches out of their 16 fixtures and will certainly look forward to better their record. They will try to repeat their performance of the first leg match, where they had won 3-1, courtesy a brace from Sushil Singh and a strike from Friday.
Pailan Arrows:- Arthur Papus will ceratinly look into the problems faced by his team in the latter part of the season. He does not have much options to explore. Still it can be expected that he will scuffle his cards to find out the best possible combination. Deepak Devrani and Shouvik Ghosh are injured while Narzary is suspended.
Shillong Lajong:- For Bulpin, it will be a tough test as he will be up against one of the most intelligent coaches in Indian football. Sushil Singh will certainly have a place in the starting XI. Ebi Sukore, Govin Singh and Seikhohao Tuboi are injured. Japanese striker Taisuke Matsugai might start from the bench.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Shillong Lajong FC have scored the minimum number of goals (12) among the 13 teams with the exception of Mohun Bagan.
- Arthur Papus is the coach of both Pailan Arrows and the Indian National U-23 team.
- These two teams have met twice this season. While Pailan won the Federation cup clash, Lajong bagged all three points in the first leg I-League match.
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