I-League: Chennai in must-win tie against Lajong
Fighting to avoid relegation, Chennai City FC face a must-win situation when they take on Shillong Lajong FC in an I-League clash here on Sunday.
Fighting to avoid relegation, Chennai City FC face a must-win situation when they take on Shillong Lajong FC in an I-League clash here on Sunday. After a sensational 2-1 victory over Mohun Bagan in their first game of 2018, Chennai have only obtained five points from a possible 21. They are currently second from bottom in the 10-team league ladder with 12 points from 14 matches. The winless run of seven games must come to an end against Lajong and head coach Soundararajan is hoping to gain three points at home for the first time. Chennai City have won two games so far in Hero I-League this season and both have come at away grounds.
"The strategy is to win the game. Winning is important for us. We haven't yet won yet in Coimbatore so it is important to win. The fact that we haven't won at home is a drawback. The only problem has been scoring goals," Soundararajan said on Saturday. The team has been struggling to score goals and have just one goal to their name in the last seven games. French forward Jean Micheal Joachim, who is their top scorer with five goals to his name, is on a dry spell in the attacking third and his coach is hoping to get his pre-match calculations right in order to solve their attacking woes. "The only problem has been scoring goals. Last day, we tried a combination of two strikers -- Joachim and Aleksander. Shillong have been playing in cold weather so the climate condition could be an advantage for us," Soundararajan said. However, Shillong Lajong coach Alison Kharsyntiew had opposing views on the effect on climatic conditions on his players.
"It is not the first time for us (in humid conditions). We have played in Guwahati, Calicut. I don't think the weather is going to affect us," he asserted. After a convincing 2-0 win against Neroca FC, Lajong succumbed to three consecutive losses against Mohun Bagan, Minerva Punjab FC and Gokulam Kerala FC. They are fifth on the table, three places above their opponents but Kharsyntiew's men cannot afford to be inconsistent "Playing away is always difficult. We have not been consistent so far but tomorrow is a different match at a different venue. We will go all-out for three points," the Lajong coach said. Guy Eric Dano and Laurence Doe scored in a 2-3 loss to Minerva Punjab in Lajong's last game but there were signs of a second-half comeback in that defeat which will give confidence to the team when they take on Chennai City. "The players have improved but as a team, we have not been consistent. We want to focus on our finishing," Kharsyntiew said.
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