Shillong, Apr 10: After playing their first ever competitive match against an Indian Super League side – and winning – Shillong Lajong FC will face old foes Mohun Bagan in the quarterfinals of the Super Cup in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday at 4PM.
Lajong came from two goals down to beat FC Pune City 3-2 on 4th April, with goals from Abdoulaye Koffi, Rakesh Pradhan and captain Samuel Lalmuanpuia.
Bagan, meanwhile, had their own comeback triumph, beating Churchill Brothers 2-1 on 1st April from a goal down, with their prolific scorer and ex-SLFC striker Aser Dipanda scoring a brace.
Lajong have met Mohun Bagan plenty of times in the I-League and Federation Cup, but don’t have the best of records against the Kolkata team.
This year, in their two I-League meetings, SLFC pulled off a 1-1 draw in Kolkata on 14th December, but then went down badly at home 3-0 on 3rd February.
“We believe in ourselves and that’s why we have come here,” Lajong coach Alison Kharsyntiew said at the pre-match press conference on Tuesday. “Yes, I remember that we were on the receiving end in the I-League at home. But come this Wednesday, it is a different game and we believe in our teamwork to get the mission accomplished once again. We accept the challenge.”
Mariners coach Sankarlal Chakraborty, meanwhile, declined to give too much importance to the past performances of his team against SLFC.
“The I-League is over. Although we have beaten them in Shillong, it’s history now. They have shown their capability against FC Pune City and we have seen how deadly they are, even in the 90th minute. On Wednesday, it is a new game and we are taking it very seriously… One mistake can shatter our title dream completely,” Chakraborty said.
There’s definitely going to be one change in the Lajong lineup, after South Korean defender Oh Juho had to return to his native country. Kenstar Kharshong, who didn’t play against Pune City, is likely to be his replacement.
(Photo contributed by Shillong Lajong FC)