SHILLONG, April 3: Shillong Lajong is all set to take on Indian Super League side FC Pune City in the pre-quarterfinals of the Hero Super Cup on Wednesday evening at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
Lajong finished sixth with 22 points in the I-League 2017-18 season and automatically advanced to the pre-quarters stage of the inaugural edition of the Hero Super Cup.
This is the first time that Lajong will face an ISL team in a competitive tournament and are looking forward to come out victorious from this fixture against FC Pune City.
In a pre-match press conference held on Tuesday, Shillong Lajong Coach, Alison Kharsyntiew said that this tournament serves as a great exposure for the young Lajong players from the Academy and the foreign players as well.
He said, “It’s a great opportunity to test ourselves against a team like FC Pune City. We have built our team with a young bunch of players. It’s a great opportunity for them to gain experience and a good exposure as well. We’re looking forward to nothing less than a win tomorrow.”
Alison also commented on the extreme heat and humidity conditions in Bhubaneswar and said, “Yes, the heat and the humidity is an issue. But, we are here to compete and we’re working hard to put up a good fight. We are not here to give lame excuses.”
“We are putting extra effort into maintaining the fitness level throughout. Nutrition and hydration are very important to combat the humidity and we’re taking care of those aspects”, the Lajong coach concluded.
FC Pune City finished 4th with 30 points in the Indian Super League 2017-18 season.
Their head coach Ranko Popović spoke ahead of the match on Wednesday and said, “”It is a completely different competition. We had an amazing season having finished in the semifinals of Hero ISL. This is going be a key battle on the pitch tomorrow. We have to stay motivated to get the result in our way.”
“I believe, we are enough smart and intelligent to get the job done. Meanwhile, we have a fair knowledge of their credentials and we know how much damage they can do. We have to absolutely at the top of our game to proceed further.”
“We have big respect for Lajong. The league standing is not important and its history now. A team always pushes their limits when there is only one match to prove their mettle.”
“Lajong has a perfect blend of young as well as experienced players. On the other hand, what made us strong this season is our collective team effort. We’ll stick to our philosophy to overcome our next hurdle.”