Shillong: Needing just a draw to clinch the title, Dempo would be looking to tame Shillong Lajong FC on Sunday in an I-League match which is equally important for the relegation-threatened home side.
Leading the tally with 50 points, Dempo just need a point to take to an unassailable 51-point lead over their closest rivals - Churchill and Mahindra - way behind with 38 points each.
Upbeat about Sunday’s clash, Dempo coach Armando Colaco said, “Lajong is a good team, especially at home. There is very little difference between the I League teams.”
“The match is very important. This away game may help us seal the title and we are looking forward to it,” he said.
All his key players - the squad fielded against Mohun Bagan -? will play tomorrow’s match.
Lajong coach Stanley Rosario, who appeared a bit tense for the first time in this season, said, “They (Dempo) need just one point to become champion. It is a strong and balanced team. It will be a tough match for us albeit on home conditions.”
“The team (Dempo) is playing together for three/four years. They have a good combination and understanding between them. This is our last home match, so the boys are all mentally prepared,” Rosario, banking on home support, said.
Rosario would also have in the back of his mind that his boys had defeated their rivals 1-0 in the last Federation Cup, though they had gone down in an earlier I-League encounter.
Rosario said his boys have seen the Dempo players and an ‘effective strategy’ is being worked out to outsmart them.
“Two foreign players in Dempo ? Beto and Martin ? are in very good form. We have to stop them,” he said, adding that Lajong has to put up a strong defence against Dempo, who are good in counter-attacks.
League debutantes Lajong went down 1-2 in Kerala against Viva, which now leaves them only a point above the bottom two with only two more rounds remaining.
Rosario admitted that their last match result is no doubt a big blow to their survival hopes.
After Sunday’s clash against Dempo, Lajong will travel to Goa to face fellow relegation contenders Salgaocar in the final round.