Mohun Bagan enjoy a better head-to-head record over Lajong this season. The teams have come face to face twice in the I-League. The first leg in Kolkata saw the teams share spoils and Mohun Bagan registered a thumping 3-0 win in Shillong.
Irrespective of having a better record against the north-eastern club, Mariners coach Sankarlal Chakraborty refused to believe that they have any sort of advantage in tomorrow's game. The coach said, "Whatever happened in I-League is different. If you see the last match between Shillong Lajonga and FC Pune City, Lajong were down by two goals with 25 minutes. But after that, they came back and won. So it won’t be easy to beat them. Tomorrow is a tough game."
Sankarlal's men had a very good away record in I-League this season. "It is not an advantage. During I-League we did not have any other option other than winning. But this is a knock-out game and we have to play differently. We have to keep a 50-50 approach like when we are going forward we have to keep a check on our defence," said the coach.
He continued, "It’s an advantage for both sides as both the teams have played each other twice this season."
Lajong coach Alison Kharsyntiew suggested that even though he respects opponents Mohun Bagan, he is confident that his side can beat the Kolkata giants. "This is the third time we are playing Mohun Bagan. They have a better record. We drew one and lost one at home in I-League. But I think tomorrow will be a different game. Mohun Bagan are a fit team, they have good players. We will try our best," said Alison.
The coach continued, "We have to believe that we can beat Mohun Bagan tomorrow. Our teamwork is our strength. We have to do well in defence, midfield and attack and also the quality of some individual players matter like (Abdoulaye) Koffi, Stevenson, and Redeem (Tlang). They are senior players."
Mohun Bagan's main man in this quarterfinal clash is I-League's top scorer Aser Dipanda. He has already scored two goals in the competition. When asked if Dipanda will be the main threat for Lajong, coach Kharsyntiew suggested, "Not only Aser Dipanda but the whole Mohun Bagan team is good. They have players like Yuta Kinowaki in midfield and several new players are there."
When asked about playing in the sultry conditions of Bhubaneswar at 4 PM, Alison said, "It’s difficult to play in this weather but we are adapting. Last game also we had to adapt and we did well. In the last two days, we had trained at 4 PM to adapt to the conditions."