Shillong, Jan 3: NEROCA will look to extend their unbeaten streak in I-League 2018-19 when they take on bottom side Shillong Lajong in the fourth North East derby of the season in Imphal tomorrow. Kick-off is at 2PM.

NEROCA have not been beaten since 24th November when they lost 2-1 at league leaders Chennai City.

Since then they’ve won against Lajong 2-1 in Shillong, 3-0 against Indian Arrows, 2-1 over Churchill Brothers and most recently 2-1 over Mohun Bagan at home. Just before they beat the Kolkata giants they were held to a goalless draw by defending champions Minerva Punjab.

NEROCA had only been able to secure five points from their first five games, but the 13 points from the next five have shot Manuel Retamero’s side to third in the standings with 18 points, behind Real Kashmir only on goal difference.

It’s been a very different tale for Lajong, who have claimed just four points with one win and a draw in the first leg.

SLFC have lost all six games on the road so far, but they’ll have fond memories of playing in Imphal after having beaten NEROCA 2-0 last year.

Unlike the all-domestic Lajong, NEROCA have a full complement of six foreign players. These foreigners have been key in getting goals, with only two of the Manipur side’s nine goals in the last five matches being scored by Indian players.

Katsumi Yusa, Felex Chidi, Aryn Williams and Eduardo Ferreira have been racking up plenty of goals and they’ll be hoping to find the back of the net against SLFC, who have yet to keep a clean sheet this season.

Lajong have been at sixes and sevens, conceding 14 goals in their last three outings. It’s going to be another away challenge for them come tomorrow and it’ll be interesting to see if they are making any progress in getting their act together, which would give their fans some hope of avoiding relegation this year.

(TSR file photo)

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