Contrary to what many would like to believe, Shillong Lajong FC coach Pradhyum Reddy is relishing the prospect of a clash against table-toppers Dempo Sports Club at the Nehru Stadium, Fatorda on Wednesday.
Lajong haven’t really set the league on fire. They have struggled against comparatively weaker teams, but against Dempo — who have won all of their six matches — Reddy believes his side will be far more competent.
“There are several advantages of playing a team like Dempo. First and foremost, we get to play on a beautiful surface at Dempo which is conducive for attractive football. In Imphal (in the last match), we struggled on a bumpy field.
“Playing against Dempo would also mean that they would play open football. They would come and attack you, so there would be an open field.
Comparatively weaker sides, with an eye on a point, play so defensively that it becomes difficult to break them down,” said the coach whose team have two win of their last six matches and have eight points in their kitty.
Despite winning all of their six matches so far, and that too convincingly, Dempo Sports Club coach Armando Colaco is wary of Shillong Lajong.
“You need to be careful of teams like Lajong. They will play against without any pressure and, unlike us, will have nothing to lose. We need to be guarded,” said Colaco.
Colaco will field an unchanged squad from the one that demolished Pune FC which means Nigerian strikers Ranty Martins and Koko Sakibo would start upfront relegating India striker Joaquim Abranches to the bench.
Colaco felt his team would still get better as the league progresses. According to him, the form and fitness would improve and then there is the small matter of completing the transfer of Trinidad & Tobago midfielder Densil Theobad when the international transfer window opens in January.