Out of reckoning, Shillong Lajong and Gokulam Kerala will look to salvage pride and finish as high as possible in the points table when they clash in an I-League fixture on Friday. Both the teams would be looking to get out of the relegation zone when they face under lights at the JLN Stadium.
In their only encounter this season, Shillong suffered a 2-3 loss against Gokulam Kerala FC at the EMS Corporation Stadium in Calicut. Kerala would have the odds to their favour and they would look to capitalise on this psychological advantage to walk away with all the three points again.
Shillong Lajong FC too would be eyeing a win to reduce the relegation pressure. The hosts are currently placed at the bottom of the Hero I-League Points table with 10 points from 17 games. What adds to their concern is the defence line which has conceded 48 goals so far. Gokulam Kerala FC are placed just above Shillong Lajong FC in the points table with a three-point cushion.
Kerala’s performance has seen some positive change ever since the appointment of their new technical director Gift Raikhan.
“It’s very important for Gokulam to get the 3 points. Prestige and dream are high as we are fighting for relegation. We as well as Lajong are at the bottom so it’s important for both the teams. we will give our best tomorrow. This is my fifth match, as a coach, I always prepare for winning the game, rest is on God. Football is all about who plays better it’s not about Indian or foreign players,” said Raikhan.
Shillong’s major concern has been the finishing capability in the final third. But the young Red Devils are known for their fighting spirit and creative ball play, an area where Gokulam Kerala would want to pay a lot of attention. The combination of Ktboklang Pale, Phrangki Buam and Mahesh Singh Naorem have looked threatening against each team that they have played, and given the situation, this trio can change the scenario on their day.
Coach Alison said, “It’s all about preparing ourselves mentally and play well tomorrow. At the end of the 90 minutess, the best team wins. Our boys will hopefully play well tomorrow and get 3 points. They have to concentrate and be mentally prepared to play well.”
Gokulam Kerala’s armoury also consists of the striker from T&T Marcus Joseph, who scored in the previous game against Arrows, and has already scored three goals in five games so far. However, the local talent Suhair VP and Rajesh who scored in their 3-2 win against Shillong Lajong in their last encounter will also add the extra might in the Keralite outfit’s dressing room.