In what is set to be a crucial derby at the I-league, Shillong Lajong will be up against their North East rivals Aizawl in the 12th season of the Hero I-league season. Former champions Aizawl will aim to end the season on a high while the Shillong side are battling to steer clear of relegation zone.

The home side Aizawl are at eighth spot with 18 points from as many games and with two wins in their last four games look safe for a mid-table finish.

They have picked themselves up and dished out some solid performances after the arrival of new coach Stanley Rosario in the latter stages of the league.

Two players, particularly Liberian Ansumanah Kromah and local talent Mapuia, have been the pick of their players and duo’s goals have helped the proud former champions form a more inglorious finish given a ragged campaign for most of the initial stages.

Speaking at the match-day eve, coach Stanley Rozario said: “I am happy that I’m out of relegation. That is more important. I came here and helped the team. We moved the team from bottom to up and qualified for Super Cup.

“Shillong Lajong is in the relegation zone and they will come up strong because they want points. Tomorrow’s match is important for us as it is going to be a North-Eastern derby. I am confident about my boys. They will be taking the three points tomorrow,” he said.

His counterpart Alison Khasyntiew of Shillong seemed to be well aware of the Herculean task at hand, but was full of hope during the presser: “We have two games left in this league, one with Aizawl tomorrow and next a home game with Mohun Bagan. If we win both these matches, we might be out of relegation. We have to work hard tomorrow against Aizawl. Hopefully, we will get the three points.”

“Aizawl has been doing good. In the last game they did well. Tomorrow, it will be a difficult match for us and hoping for three points. In the home game we defeated Aizawl. I hope tomorrow we will be able to defeat them,” he said.

(IANS Inputs)