Aizawl to host Lajong, Young Arrows take on Minerva Punjab
Aizawl: The people of Aizawl will once again be there to cheer for their team as it prepares to face Shillong Lajong in Hero I-League on Monday.
This will be Aizawl's last home game before Christmas and three points against Lajong will be a satisfactory Christmas present for their fans.
Aizawl garnered maximum points in their last home game against Goan side Churchill Brothers, while the club from Meghalaya, Shillong Lajong managed a draw against the mighty Mohun Bagan in their last fixture.
Speaking to the media at the pre-match conference, Lajong coach Bobby Nongbet, who is plying his trade in the league for the first season, expects his team to get three points against the home team.
"It's my first season in I-League at the helm and I'm already feeling the heat. Aizawl has played very well in their last two matches but we will work hard and expect full three points. We will play an attacking football and I expect a good match against Aizawl," said Nongbet.
Aizawl will be without former captain David Lalrinmuana and this season's top-scorer William Lalnunfela who has scored two goals.
Aizawl's coach Menezes said, "I have a vast knowledge about Lajong and have informed the team as well. They are a young team, with fast and technical players. Like the last game, we will give our best and I expect three points against Lajong."
Meanwhile, a stern test awaits young Indian Arrows as they face table toppers Minerva Punjab in an away fixture of the Hero I-League at the Guru Nanak Stadium, on Monday.
It will be a tough outing for the young Indian Arrows side comprising of Indian U-17 World Cup squad and Indian U-19 team members as they were on the receiving end when these two sides collided in Goa, thanks to William Opoku Asiedu's brilliant brace.
Indian Arrows coach Luis Norton de Matos has clearly stretched that it's not the result that he is looking for but the development of the young side.
His side had a reasonable 10 days break in order to prepare themselves for the upcoming challenge.
When the Portuguese was asked about his team's preparation for the upcoming game he told media that he studied Minerva Punjab really well.
"I again want to point out that we are not here to win or lose. We are here for the experience of the competitive matches. My team is very young. They are 18-year-old players and it's essential that they play bigger stronger opponents for their development," De Matos said.
He praised the Punjab-based side wholeheartedly as well.
"We have worked on Minerva's strength especially their throw-in and other set pieces. Minerva are the leaders of I- League and are a very strong side," he added.
According to the Portuguese coach, it's a long-term project to make Indian players adapt to European style of play.
"Yes, it's a long-term project. I don't want to change my style of play for a different opponent every game. I want my players to play the same kind of football so that when these players are ready in 2 years for the senior side they can counter European teams easily. In order to achieve this the players need more competition," De Matos expressed.
Minerva Punjab coach Wangkhem Khogen Singh, whose side have accumulated 10 points in four matches until now, said he will field an unchanged starting line-up.
"We want to keep our winning streak to stretch as much as possible. We will not change our team or our team tactics. We won't take any side lightly no matter how our opponent is," he stressed.