After a disappointing I-League 2016-17 campaign, DSK Shivajians find themselves with a great opportunity to redeem themselves. With a win in the penultimate game of the group stage, they have put massive pressure on Bengaluru who face off against Mohun Bagan a few hours later on Friday.
The Pune based club were battered 4-0 in the opening game by Mohun Bagan but their response was brilliant. A surprisingly good performance against Bengaluru saw them pick up a 2-0 win and gave them the head to head advantage over the currently second placed Blues.
If Bengaluru succumb to Bagan’s pressure and lose their game, the Reds from Pune will go through to the semi-final, given they have done what they need to do- win against Lajong. A defeat in this match however could knock the Pune side out of the tournament, depending on Bengaluru's result against Bagan.
A draw too could be enough unless Bengaluru beat Mohun Bagan.
The Reds from Shillong have nothing to play for. A win will make sure they bow out with their heads held high but it has been a difficult tournament for them. They have lost both their games with a 2-3 score line. While the first defeat in the game against Bengaluru would have been a hard one to take in, the second game against Mohun Bagan was the knockout punch.
Both these clubs won their away matches by outscoring each other when these two met in the league this season. Neutrals will be hoping for an end to end encounter with lots of goals in it!
Shivajians are expected to make a few changes to their starting line up in order to go all-out attack right from the start. They might go with an attacking 4-3-3 with a backline of Chettri, Mcfaul, Kolunija and Lalrinzuala who will be screened by a three man midfield consisting of Milan Singh, Jerry and Pradhan. Narzary and Quero will attack from the flanks, giving ample service to Kim up front.
Lajong isn’t expected to bring in too many changes from their usual starting line up. They will look to defend deep and frustrate their opponents, knowing fully well that the Reds from Pune have no other option other an all out attack. Dipanda and Tamag have been ruled out of the game. Fabio Pena is expected to lead the line, supported by Singh and Tlang from the flanks.
PREDICTED LINE UPS
Kick Off is at 4 PM IST at Barabati Stadium, Cuttack.