SHILLONG: Hero I-League leaders Mohun Bagan have to fasten their belts to earn nothing but a win tomorrow when they take on Shillong Lajong FC at the JN Stadium is Shillong.
Coming to the tie on the back to two successive defeats against newcomers Aizawl FC and arch rivals Kingfisher East Bengal, and stung by the absence of their coach Sanjoy Sen and the assistant coach, both of whom are currently under suspension, the Mariners would have their task cut out when they take on Shillong Lajong who just pulled off a fine victory over the Northeast rivals Aizawl FC in their last home outing.
The result of Tuesday’s tie would play a major role in deciding whether Mohun Bagan go on retaining their Hero I-League title.
Mariners’ physical trainer, Garcia, who will be in charge tomorrow, minced no words when he said, “It will be a tough match tomorrow, anything can happen.”
He, however, downplayed speculations that absence of the coach and his deputy is going to affect the team’s chances on the field, “We have a good set of players who have been there for a while. They know their roles and are well prepared for the crucial game. Moreover, it is not the first time that I am acting as a coach, I have been a former footballer and know my job well,” Garcia concluded.
Meanwhile, buoyed by last game’s success, Lajong coach Thangboi Singto expressed pleasure that the boys were finally among goals. He added, “Bagan are a great side with both quality Indian and foreign players and it will not be easy for us by any means tomorrow.”
Singto underlined that with only four matches to go in the season, all the ties are crucial and the idea would be to focus on one game at a time. Meanwhile, the hero from the other night, Fabio Pena, is doubtful against the Mariners tomorrow owing to his groin injury.
In a bid to put the pressure back on the opponents he said, “Bagan too have a lot at stake and we hope to see a big crowd in tomorrow.”
Birthday boy Penn Orji echoed his coach stating that the two home games were extremely crucial for the Reds. A former Red & Golds player, Orji said he has always relished those encounters against Mariners and he’ll surely try to utilise his experiences tomorrow.
Shillong Lajong are currently fourth in the closely-knit Hero I-League table with 14 points whereas Mohun Bagan have amassed 25 points playing one match more.
The Hero I-League match, which is scheduled at 04:30 PM tomorrow, will be telecast live on Ten 2.
– I-League Media