With all three Kolkata teams unable to conquer the North East, it will be left for the I-League leaders to set an example, and also continue their winning run...
SHILLONG LAJONG FC
Lallawmzuala, Mawia, Minchol, Passah;
Jibon, Jacob, Lyngdoh, Renedy;
Sushil Singh, Gbeneme
Naoba, Okpara, Mondal, Saumik Dey
Shillong Lajong FC will look to sustain the momentum they have built after defeating Pailan Arrows 3-1 at home. They will be keen to stretch their winning run as they meet I-League table toppers, East Bengal.
Desmond Bulpin will not want to tinker with the team that finally got the North East side a victory after three back-to-back defeats. Sushil Singh who grabbed a brace in the last round is expected to start with the increasingly impressive Friday Gbeneme in attack.
|Can Sushil continue from where he left off against Arrows?
The task will be cut out for the Lajong defence as they will have to contain the trio of Penn Orji, Manandeep Singh and Chidi Edeh who have all been in spectacular form this season, scoring and setting up goals for fun.
Trevor James Morgan meanwhile will be ecstatic with the way his team are playing. With luck on their side, as was evident in the Salgaocar win where the team was far from their best, the Red and Golds look close to invincible.
|While Chidi leads the line, Ishfaq has been a rock in midfield
Morgan will look to continue on the unbeaten run in the I-League as they look to be the only side still unfazed by defeat in India's top tier football competition. What is more impressive is that in the eight rounds played so far, the Kolkata outfit have just conceded a solitary goal.
Uga Okpara and Arnab Mondal will continue to be the pillars in defense as they have no apparent injury worries except for a few niggles. Harmanjot Khabra and Ishfaq Ahmed will continue to work their socks off as they allow the front three to play their natural game.
Shillong Lajong FC: Desmond Bulpin will look to send out an unchanged squad from the one that beat Pailan Arrows comprehensively and will look to give Renedy his second consecutive start. Boithang Haokip will miss the tie due to an injury.
East Bengal: Morgan can bless his stars that he is not plagued by injuries as he has a full complement of 20 players to choose from with no apparent injury worries. Harmanjot Khabra and Chidi Edeh are carrying knocks but are expected to start.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- The last defeat faced by the Red and Golds was against Shillong Lajong itself in February, 2012 in last season's I-League.
- Even more interesting, Lajong have beaten all three Kolkata teams at home this season.
- East Bengal do not have an enviable record against the minnows as they have been beaten twice in the last five matches between the two teams.
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