Thangboi Singto's men have never won a game in the I-League against Salgaocar FC...
Shillong Lajong FC were handed their first away defeat last Sunday by Bengaluru FC. The north eastern outfit will hope to register their second win on home soil this season, having won just once in eight matches played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
"It's a big match coming up. We have to better our home performance. So far, we have played eight matches and have won only one match at home. So we have to pull our socks and do better. Away, we started well, but we lost against Bengaluru FC in the last match where we played well. It was a good, close match," Thangboi Singto, the home team's coach told Goal.
"What I tell my team is that 'we have to be switched on from the start of the match and you can't say that we will play attacking for 15 minutes and then we'll defend. The best thing is to play consistently for 90 minutes’."
The Meghalaya-based side have a few concerns with regards to striker Uilliams Souza Silva, who played only for 45 minutes against Bengaluru FC. Cornell Glen and Minchol Son meanwhile are suffering from a minor niggles, though they should be ready for Friday’s encounter.
On the other hand, Salgaocar FC’s points have been docked for allegedly fielding two unregistered players, namely Matthew Foschini and Fulganco Cardozo, against Pune FC and Bengaluru FC, who have each been awarded a win with a scoreline of 3-0.
The Goan team had drawn 1-1 with Pune and lost 1-2 to Bengaluru, resulting in Salgaocar losing just a point with their goal difference going down from +6 to +1 and dropping down to fifth in the standings - one spot above Lajong.
"We (the players) had our registration cards in hand. Otherwise the match commissioners wouldn't have allowed them to play. So my take is, I think it is a minor case. And if the AIFF can bend rules - before the league, teams could register 30 players, but just to help some teams, they raised it to 35. So if they can do that, they can overlook this small blunder of ours," opined Salgaocar coach Derrick Pereira.
Talking on the clash against Lajong, he added, "When we were here last time, in the month of November, which was a month back, we adjusted well. It's quite cold in the evening, but it's okay. You have to always forget the past, whether you win or lose and look forward for a better performance and a better result.
"Like I said right from the beginning, it will be a tough league. There will be these types of results which we are going through. So we have to work harder than before and change the situation."
Pereira will have a fully fit squad to choose from while he admitted that there could be a change expected in his defense after he expressed his disappointment following the loss to Sporting Clube de Goa in the previous round.
Meanwhile, Ivorian-French striker Claude Gnakpa has been released by the club. "His performance was hampered by injury earlier in the season and so he was released as he did not fall into my scheme of play," Pereira summed up, acknowledging that he will be looking to sign a player for the number 10 role.
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