Shillong, Apr 3: Shillong Lajong FC will play their first ever competitive match against an Indian Super League team when they face FC Pune City in the first round of the Super Cup tomorrow in Bhubaneswar at 8PM.

Lajong automatically qualified for the Super Cup as they finished sixth in the I-League, while Pune City are also direct entrants after coming fourth in the ISL.

“It’s a great opportunity to test ourselves against a team like FC Pune City,” Lajong’s Alison Kharsyntiew was quoted as saying in a Lajong press release on Tuesday. “We have built our team with a young bunch of players. It’s a great opportunity for them to gain experience and good exposure as well.”

Kharsyntiew admitted that hot and humid conditions in Bhubaneswar are a factor but that the team “are not here to give lame excuses.”

SLFC’s Super Cup squad has a few changes to it, with Saihou Jagne making way for Onwemelu Emmanuel Uchenna, while F Lalrohlua, Hardycliff Nongbri and Aiban Dohling are also out.

Meanwhile, Pune City head coach Ranko Popovic said, “We had an amazing season having finished in the semifinals of the ISL. This is going be a key battle on the pitch tomorrow. We have to stay motivated to get the result in our way. We have big respect for Lajong. The league standing is not important and it’s history now. A team always pushes their limits when there is only one match to prove their mettle.”

(Photo contributed by Shillong Lajong FC)

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