Fatorda, March 11: Goan football club Salgaocar will host Shillong Lajong in the second leg encounter of the I-League at the Fatorda Stadium here on Saturday.
Lajong beat Salgaocar 1-0 in the first leg clash on January 28 in Shillong. It was Lajong's new Brazilian recruit Fabio Pen Henrique who scored the winner. Coach Thangboi Singto's side are coming into this fixture after losing against Bengaluru FC 0-2. This was Lajong's first loss at home in the current I-League season.
Thangboi has stressed many times that the only thing stopping them from collecting wins is the lack of goals this season. In his own words, "Goals help the team to win matches. If you don't score, then you cannot win."
The youngsters have formed an integral part of the team this year and we have seen good performances on the pitch coming from Vishal Kaith under the bar, Sa Singh and Pritam Kumar in defence, Bipin Singh and Rupert Nongrum in the flanks and Samuel Lalmuanpuia upfront.
As for Lajong's foreign recruit, Penn Orji has started in every single I-League match and has played a crucial role at the centre of the park. Brazilian striker Fabio Pen, who was signed by Lajong this season, has scored only one goal thus far.
Thangboi believes in Fabio's capabilities and the striker can prove to be dangerous once he is fully settled in the match. Uilliams and Yusuke will not feature in Saturday's match due to injury. Thangboi confirmed: "Uilliams and Yusuke have not travelled with us due to injury."
Asked about the team's preparation, the Lajong tactician said, "We are putting our best foot forward on our preparations for the match versus Salgoacar. We need to play better than the last match at home as Salgoacar has strengthened with experienced players. We go to the game with a positive belief that we can win. The aim is not to concede and score goals."
The Goan outfit are heading into this fixture after playing a 2-2 draw against Mumbai FC at home. Jackichand Singh and Brian Mascarenhas scored for Salgaocar, who are tied on nine points with DSK Shivajians at the bottom of the I-League table.
They have a good record at home against Lajong and will look to better their position in the league by making the most of the home advantage. Salgaocar have won only two matches, drew thrice and lost six times.
Despite their major setback this season, they have scored the third highest number of goals so far with 16 after Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC. They have also conceded 21 goals which is the highest among all the I-League clubs and hence the cause of their downfall.
Their major strengths have been finding the back of the net and with a change in the coaching staff, the Goan outfit certainly have a big game plan. Lajong are just three points away from climbing up to fourth position and Thangboi's troops will hope to make it right and deliver a match winning team performance. IANS