I-League 2017 Preview: Shillong Lajong vs Aizawl FC: All eyes turn to Meghalaya as Aizawl seek history

So it all boils down to this - the last game of the season, a psuedo-finale for Aizawl FC who take on Shillong Lajong on Sunday in a bid to have their named engraved on the 2017 I-League trophy.

Sunday's northeastern derby is more than just that, it is also a conundrum as a northeastern side stands in the way of another's quest for history.

Expect Khalid Jamil's men to be clear with their gameplan, they would come seeking a win, but even a point is bliss. But Thangboi Singto's young charges will be out to hurt them. It is no surprise that The Reds from Meghalaya sit fifth on the table, only two points behind last year's champions Bengaluru FC. They have a young and vibrant side, who have the ability to hurt any opponent, especially at home.

Also read: Re-introducing the heroes of Aizawl FC's fairy-tale story

Aizawl are coming into this tie on the back of a morale-boosting 1-0 win over Mohun Bagan in the last matchday. It was dubbed as a winner-takes-all contest with the odds heavily tilted towards the Mariners, but Aizawl defied those odds and secured a late win thanks to Zohmingliana Ralte's winner.

But unsurprisingly, Khalid Jamil made it clear that winner did not take all that evening. He reiterated that the job is yet to be done, and he will ensure that this message is drilled down into his players' minds clearly as well. They've come so far, they cannot let it slip now!

Of course, this tie could be rendered meaningless should Bagan fali to win their tie at home against Chennai City FC, but the Mizo side are smart enough to not let their fate rest on another result.

One of Lajong's strengths have been their midfield. Japanese medio Yuta Kinowaki and Issac Vanlalsawma have dovetailed seamlessly in midfield and are adept at holding on to the ball and launching attacks whenever they see an opening. In fact, Issac is a brilliant set-piece taker as well apart from having the eye to pick out a pass.

Outsmarting this duo in midfield will be a huge challenge for Aizawl, who are without skipper Alfred Jaryan (suspended) who has been doing the dirty work in midfield with aplomb throughout the season.

How that will affect the freedom Syrian midfielder Mahmoud Al Amna enjoys remains to be seen. Their Liberian captain and Ashutosh Mehta (also suspended), will be huge misses for Aizawl FC, who take on an uncompromising foe - atleast for this weekend.

Such is the hype for this clash that thousands of Aizawl fans are expected to make the trip to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong to witness this in person, and to their credit, the hosts have made provisions to accomodate them as well.


PREDICTED LINE-UPS

SLFC


AIZ


TEAM NEWS

SHILLONG LAJONG :

Injured : None

Doubtful : None

Key Player : Aser Dipanda


AIZAWL FC:

Injured : None

Doubtful : None

Suspended : Alfred Jaryan, Ashutosh Mehta

Key Player : Mahmoud Al Amna

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes