Chennai City FC will look to get back to winning ways at home when they take on bottom-placed Shillong Lajong FC in an I-League encounter in Coimbatore on Saturday.
The home side has lost points in each of their last two games and suffered their first defeat of the season against Real Kashmir in the previous game.
That has given hope to the chasing pack of about five clubs and Singaporean coach Akbar Nawas will look to grab three points on Saturday to get their campaign back on track.
For Alison Kharsyntiew’s Shillong Lajong, it has been a bitter-sweet campaign. Their tally of seven losses from nine games does not really reflect the attractive brand of football that Shillong’s attacking line has been dishing out.
“Chennai City is a very good team. They have been playing very good football, so it is going to be difficult for us to defeat them at their home,” Kharsyntiew said.
“Our players have to put full effort and will be playing with full confidence against them. Yes, we have been lacking on our defence.” It looks like an uphill task on paper for the visitors with the coach disclosing that Rakesh Pradhan, one of the bright spots of their campaign this year, will be missing out due to injury.
For the hosts, their Spanish striker Pedro Manzi will have to get back to goal-scoring form, else coach Nawas already has Serbian Josef Kaplan as cover.
Also, his dynamic Spanish midfield duo of Nestor Jesus and Sandro Rodriguez will have to be on top of their game once again after having a couple of off days.
“We will be playing our usual game tomorrow, but we hope the referee will be fair with us. We are not asking the referee to favour us. He should be fair to the game,” Nawas said.
Shillong will look for inspiration from their captain Samuel Lalmuanpuia and will hope that Phrangki Buam adds to his tally of three goals in the league so far, for them to get a positive result.