Shillong Lajong FC would be aiming for a turnaround of fortunes but the task looks easier said than done against the in-form Minerva Punjab FC in an I- League clash in Chandigarh on Wednesday.
Lajong will be going into this match after suffering a a three-goal defeat at home to Mohun Bagan. They were unable to capitalise on their chances and could not make use of the home advantage.
The Reds are currently fifth with 17 points from five wins and two draws. Shillong Lajong have played seven matches away from home so far and have only won two of those games beating North East neighbours, Aizawl FC and Neroca FC in their home ground and drew against Mohun Bagan.
Having notched up only 11 goals out of 14 matches, Lajong will be hoping to convert their chances and beat the favourites Minerva and a lot is expected from their forwards, Koffi and Jagne.
Minerva Punjab won the first leg encounter in Shillong on January 14 with a solitary goal from William Opoku.
Talking about Minerva Punjab, Shillong Lajong coach Alison Kharsyntiew said, “Minerva is a well-balanced team with players who work very hard throughout the ninety minutes.”
“It will be a tough match for us, but we are ready for the challenge. The remaining four games are very crucial for us. We want to take each game at a time and earn maximum points from every game.”
The Punjab side has surprised everyone with back to back power-packed performances since the I-League kicked off in November last year and have won eight games. They are currently in the second position with 26 points from 12 games.
Since the start of 2018, Minerva continued their good run of form and became a force to reckon with as they enjoyed four wins on the trot, against Gokulam Kerala, Mohun Bagan, Lajong and Neroca which saw them dominating the league table for the whole month of January.
In the past two encounters, however, they drew against East Bengal 2-2 in Barasat and lost their first outing of the year to Churchill Brothers in Goa by 2-1.
Minerva have scored 17 goals in total and their highest goal-scorer and target man is Bhutanese, Chencho Gyeltshen, who has netted six goals and handed five assists in the league so far.
Talking about threat posed by him, Shillong coach Alison said, “Chencho is our real threat. He has been performing consistently and in our last match we saw his impact.”