Stakes will be touching the sky when Minerva Punjab will host Shillong Lajong at their newly-built stadium Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Panchkula tomorrow (7th February 2018).
Home side Minerva Punjab come into this match after swallowing a shock defeat at the hands of Churchill Brothers and eventually lost their unbeaten run in the process. Minerva Punjab so far have been the surprise team of the season and are only second to NEROCA in the points table with 2 games in hand.
A win for them will mean big pressure on NEROCA and fellow rivals Kingfisher East Bengal in the title race whereas a defeat or draw will put huge pressure on home side for the upcoming matches.
On being asked about the shift in Venue from Ludhiana to Panchkula. Minerva Punjab Head Coach Wangkhem Khogen Singh replied, “The stadium is closer to our academy so we expect more home support here. This is our home and I think more people will come to support us tomorrow. We have practised on this ground for last a few days.”
Khogen Singh also told media that his team is not suffering from any injury and any change in his side will be a result of a change in tactics.
“Every match for us is like a final now. We have to take 3 points from all the remaining matches,” he exuded in a resolute manner.
Abhishek Ambekar who has started most of the matches for Minerva from left back position said he needs to work on his basics.
“I have to maintain my consistency in the next few matches and hopefully get a call from the national team. That’s my aim. My favourite foot is left but I can manage with both feet and I feel the combination between me and Chencho is going well”, he added.
Shillong Lajong, on the other hand, lost their last encounter at home against Mohun Bagan by 3 goals. A defeat for them will push them in the bottom half of table. Bobby Nongbet must be worried about these stats and would be definitely looking to change their away fortunes.
Meanwhile, Samuel Lalmuanpuia has lived in Chandigarh for 5 years before and expressed his memories ahead of the media.
“This is a homecoming for me. Chandigarh is like my second home,” he replied.
On being asked the importance of this game and remaining matches Shillong Lajong Head Coach Bobby Nongbet said, “We have only four matches left in the league and we will fight for every point possible to finish our season as strong as possible.”
The match is slated to kick-off at 02:00 PM and it’ll be telecast live on Star Sports 2/2 HD and streamed live on Hotstar and Jio TV.