Calcutta: Mohammedan Sporting’s hopes of staying afloat in the I-League received a big boost when they came from behind to end a five-match winless streak against Rangdajied United on Sunday.
The 2-1 victory was a welcome relief for Sanjoy Sen’s team. They now face another must-win game against Shillong Lajong FC at the Salt Lake Stadium on Wednesday. They cannot afford any slip-up as they are only two points ahead of bottom-placed Churchill Brothers, having playing an extra game.
“It was good to get back to winning ways, but the danger of relegation still remains… So we can’t relax and must focus on getting three points in the next game too.
“This match is like a final for us… We have to win to save ourselves from relegation. The boys are aware of their responsibilities and I’m hopeful of a positive result,” Sen said on Tuesday.
However, Mohammedan Sporting haven’t won back-to-back I-League fixtures this season and that is keeping Sen slightly worried.
“I reminded the players of the task in hand at practice today… The boys are in good shape and I liked their body language,” he said.
Since winning the IFA Shield, their lack of consistency has been Mohammedan Sporting’s bane this season. “We haven’t been consistent… It’s something that we are trying hard to counter. We have a formidable outfit… With the combined experience of the players, we should be able to come out clean.
“Yes, we haven’t performed to expectations, but if we win tomorrow, the confidence will increase. In that case, we wouldn’t have to depend on other teams,” said a confident Sen.
Lajong have no such worries and are placed seventh in the table with 29 points from 21 matches. They have had an extended break since losing to Mumbai FC 1-2. That defeat came after Lajong had blanked league toppers Bengaluru FC 3-0 at home. They have three matches remaining. Coach Thangboi Singto is aiming to secure a top-seven finish.
“I have been saying you know that top-seven has been our target from the beginning of the season and I will stick to that. The top-five was going to be very tough… Other teams are also catching up while there are some teams above that are not far away. It’s still open, but we would like to finish in the top seven,” said Singto.
The Lajong coach also rued their lack of consistency. “We need to concentrate on our strengths… We lost to Mumbai FC after beating Bengaluru FC.
“Mohammedan Sporting are a good team and they will be playing at home… That obviously is an advantage for them… They won their last match and regained their rhythm. We have to be cautious,” said Singto.
For the record, Lajong had won their home tie against Mohammedan Sporting 2-1.