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The Reds’ coach was happy his side managed to pick up a good number of points against 'tough' Goan opposition, claims side have to be realistic on top four ambition.

Thangboi Singto was spreading the Christmas cheer as his side eked out a 2-1 victory over Goa’s Dempo SC. In a taciturn encounter Milan Singh put the hosts ahead through a penalty in the 40th minute while Jeje Lalpekhlua pulled one back for the hosts ten minutes into the second half. However, four minutes later, Boithang Haokip won it for Lajong with a sumptuous goal.

On being asked for his opinion on the victory, Singto replied, “The last four games we have played against Goan teams. I think it’s nice that we have got 9 points out of a possible 12. The match we played against Sporting Goa it should not have happened (the defeat by such a margin) definitely but sometimes it happens. Sometimes, the travel and other big factors such as adapting to hot conditions, set in. But credit to the players. They did a fantastic job. Like I said, 9 points out of 12 is a fantastic achievement.”

When quizzed on his side's top-four credentials, Singto opined, “At the beginning of the season, our aim was to finish realistically in the top seven. We have to be realistic as it’s too early to say where we’d finish. If you see our line-up today, we are including young players like Redeem Tlang. The man of the match was Boithang Haokip, but the 18 year-old boy Tlang has shown that he can perform better with experience. We have about ten U-18 year-olds. We are in a period of transition according to me. I believe in one or two years we should be better.”

“In football you need key players. Today we missed [Cornell] Glen and Uilliams [Bonfim da Silva]. However, I’d like to stress that Minchol [Son], in spite of not being a hundred per cent fit, said ‘coach the team needs me, so I’ll play’. So that’s the character of Son. Apart from the captain, I think everyone chipped in today. That’s a great gift for the Shillong Lajong fans and football lovers as well,” elucidated Singto on the coagulation of his team's spirit.

"Today we are trying to seep in the victory. The schedule is quite tight, yes. But after a few days, maybe after New Years' we will try to re-plan it," said the coach on his team's Federation Cup preparations. 

Concluding with a Christmas message on behalf of his team, Singto said, “To all the football lovers and fans, not just in Shillong but also in the North-East, I think Shillong Lajong have sent a beautiful gift to football lovers. Enjoy it and celebrate Christmas and New Year in a good way.”

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