MatchPreview: I-League; Neroca eye top spot against Lajong
Imphal, Jan 24: An in-form Neroca FC will aim to grab the top spot in the I-League when they take on Shillong Lajong at the Khuman Lampak Main Stadium here on Wednesday.
Neroca are on a nine-game unbeaten run and are placed second in the standings with 21 points from 10 matches. League leaders Minerva Punjab FC have 22 points from nine games. Their next match is on Saturday against Neroca. If Neroca beat Lajong then Minerva will feel the pressure in Saturday’s clash.
“Everybody knows that we are doing good. May not be perfect, but we are doing good so far. In my opinion, we are having a good run,” Neroca FC head coach Gift Raikhan said in a release.
Lajong, however, have lost their last two games and have already succumbed to a 0-1 loss on these two sides’ last meeting in the league earlier.
Goalkeeper Lalit Thapa is doubtful for the match against Lajong due to an injury. Shambu Mishtry stepped in between the sticks in their last game against Aizawl FC and the goalkeeper has the backing of his coach.
Not only have Neroca’s only loss of the season come in their opening game against Minerva Punjab but the Raikhan-led side boast the best defensive record in the Hero I-League this season, with just six goals conceded in 10 matches.
Lajong’s assistant coach Alison Kharsyntiew said that focus is the key to hold up against a strong Neroca side.
“It’s going to be a very tough match because it’s Neroca’s home match. They have been performing very well but we will give our best in the 90 minutes,” he stressed.
“I believe in my team and I hope my players will give a good performance tomorrow. I believe that we can win.”
Lajong’s inability to convert the chances that they create have hurt them in their last few games. “Looking back at the past matches against Neroca, Minerva and Churchill Brothers, we have not been clinical once we get inside the box. So that is one thing we are working on improving at the moment,” said Kharsyntiew.
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