Shillong: Not just Lajong but Mohun Bagan on Saturday will also have to battle the harsh climate of Shillong when the two face-off at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in a high-octane clash here.
“We don’t experience this type of climate in Kolkata and it’s difficult for us as a team. It is concerning us,” said head coach Sankarlal Chakraborty. Mohun Bagan are placed fourth after 11 games with 17 points.
Lajong with the same number of points are a notch below on fifth from 13 matches. Bagan are ahead because of their superior goal difference. Having scored 16 and shipping just half of it means they have a +8 goal-difference, which is far better than Lajong’s +5.
But almost certain of being out of the title race Chakraborty is not bothered about their current standings but wants “maximum points” hoping that can save their already sinking ship.
“We are hoping for good results by the end of the season,” he added.
Irrespective of their poor record at home where they won three and lost twice, while drawing the other four, Bagan have so far remained undefeated on the road. In three matches they have defeated East Bengal in the Kolkata derby and drawn the other two, with the 1-1 draw against Aizwal their latest result.
Going by that form Chakraborty who was elevated from an assistant coach to the role of head coach said his team was in excellent shape and that they are all prepared to face Shillong in their own backyard.
“We do not consider ourselves at a disadvantage as the entire team is in excellent form. We are confident as a team and we will be playing to win,” said the former Bagan player.
Lajong’s away run however has been just the opposite of their opponents on Saturday. In six away matches they have lost four, two of which came in the last three against struggling Churchill Brothers and Gokulam FC.
But coach Alison Kharsyntiew refused to look into the past and rather spoke of how determined his boys were to get their campaign back on track.
“Going into tomorrow’s game, we feel confident and we are determined to prove ourselves and gain points. We had just come back from three away games,” he said.
Their inability to score cost them many matches and the 2-0 defeat to Churchill was among them — they have netted just 11 times, which is the third lowest, but Kharsyntiew said that his boys have been training hard, “especially when it comes to our finishing and goal scoring.”
“We still have a few games left and we are determined to win all the remaining games too,” he added.
It was a 1-1 stalemate when the two teams last squared off in Kolkata but both have come a long way since then and with their seasons crumbling over, a win is what perhaps may resurrect them.