The Reds will play host to cross town rivals and debutants Rangdajied United FC in the Shillong derby...It will be a history in the making when Shillong Lajong FC lock horns with Rangdajied United FC in the first ever I-League derby at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Meghalaya.
Shillong Lajong FC are on an unbeaten streak of five matches but will be missing the services of their key players like Jibon Singh who is facing a two match ban after receiving a red card in the last game against Mohun Bagan and defender Wailadmi Passah on account of accumulating four yellow cards to his name in the previous fixtures.
Lajong coach Thangboi Singto said that the game will be “a big day for north east football” and added: “The I-League is a tough league to play in and many players from the north east are playing in the league and it is a good thing for Indian football to see north east teams represent the region. Football will be the winner but we will look for a win.”
On the other hand, Santosh Kashyap feels that both teams have showed what they are capable of. With only three points to show and being placed at the bottom of the table, Rangdajied have been on the wrong end of results more often than not.
The Blues’ coach however asserted that, with the five new signings, the prospects should be much better for the bottom-ranked side on Friday while claiming that the decision to sign the IMG-Reliance contracted played was "a management call".
With an aim to avoid relegation, Rangdajied have recently signed five players, namely Gouramangi Moirangthem, Subrata Paul, Sandesh Jhingan, Tomba Singh and Manandeep Singh on-loan from IMG-Reliance, the inceptors of the Indian Super League football tournament which has been postponed until September next year.
Kashyap's side will be without the services of Edmar Figueira who is suffering from a groin injury and Sandesh Jhingan, but Eugeneson Lyngdoh will be back in the team after missing out the previous match. Lyngdoh will be facing his old club where he spent the last two seasons and the midfielder said, "I have full respect for Lajong but I will be playing for a win for my club,” he said.
Hence, if Lajong’s recent form and Rangdajied’s new signings are any indication of things to come, the derby should be nothing short of a cracker of a contest and no prizes for guessing that all roads could lead to the stadium on Friday.
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