From Our Correspondent
Shillong, April 11: Stage is set for a cracker of a derby as hosts Royal Wahingdoh take on city rivals Shillong Lajong FC in a Hero I-League encounter at the JN Stadium Shillong on Sunday.
While the Royals have remained unbeaten in the last five matches, Lajong too are yet to taste defeat after resuming their I-League campaign post an over three-week break. The tie thus is crucial for both sides, one nurturing title ambitions while the other looking to brisk away from the relegation zone.
RWFC, who had an exceptiol season so far considering the fact that they are debutants, had beaten the Reds 2-1 in the reverse fixture and would certainly look for a repeat performance on Sunday. Technically the hosts, Royal Wahingdoh come also to the game on the back of some brilliant performances against the likes of Pune FC, East Bengal and Bengaluru FC.
However, RWFC coach Santosh Kashyap feels that it would be a completely new game on Sunday and past performances would not count for much if the boys do not deliver on match day.
“Last derby was a different game and both the sides have improved from there on,” Kashyap said on the eve of the match adding that a good contest is on the cards on Sunday.
The coach also expressed satisfaction at the performance of his boys who have not let the team go down in the last five encounters.
“The boys have done extremely well considering the hectic schedule they had to deal with. It was good to be among points in our last five matches,” he said.
However, in a major setback to the Royals, their star striker Jackichand Singh would miss out on the home tie tomorrow due to a minor injury.
Stating that thought the team will miss the services of Jacki, Kashyap said he was confident others will make up for his absence by their good show.
Meanwhile, Shillong Lajong on the other hand have been among points of late and if their performances against the likes of Mumbai FC and Mohan Bagan is an indication of things to come then the Reds will clearly not give up without a fight on Sunday.
“We had a shaky start but the team has been together for long and the combitions have filly started working for us,” Lajong coach Thangboi Singto said.
He also pointed out that the team has maintained a clean sheet in the last two matches and would try not to concede against the Royals on Sunday.
“We have players in the front who are capable of scoring for us, so we need to ensure that we don’t concede,” Singto added.
Both the coaches expected a cracker of a contest on Sunday and urged the fans to come in large numbers to support the two local sides.
Cornell Glen will undoubtedly be the man to look out for the Royals while in the absence of Jacki, the likes of Bekay Bawar, Kim Yong and Densill Theobald are expected to step on the gas on Sunday.
RWFC’s Kim Song Yong said the team is well prepared for the derby and he can’t wait to take the pitch on Sunday.
SLFC’s Aiborlang Khnongjee was equally excited about the tie between the two sides.