Everyone is happy and motivated: Lalengmawia ahead of first leg
NorthEast United FC have done well to make it to their second Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) semi-finals after an unbeaten run of 10 games in the 2020-21 campaign. Their next challenge sees them take on the mighty ATK Mohun Bagan in the first leg of Semi-final 2 at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Saturday, and young Highlanders midfielder Lalengmawia believes it won’t be an easy game against the Kolkata giants led by Antonio Lopez Habas.
“Everyone in our team worked hard to reach the semi-finals, so I think it is well-deserved. It is not going to be an easy opponent because we are going to play against a tough ATK Mohun Bagan side. So, we will give our best and the result will be in god’s hands,” Lalengmawia told indiansuperleague.com in an exclusive interview ahead of the game.
20-year-old Lalengmawia, who is fondly called Apuia, created history earlier in the season after he became the youngest captain in the history of the Hero ISL. Sharing his experience on leading the team from the front on that day against FC Goa, he said, “It was a great experience, and I am very happy to lead the team and become the youngest captain in the Hero ISL.”
After making 10 appearances in Hero ISL 2019-20, Lalengmawia has featured in all 20 matches for the Highlanders so far this season. His strong passing accuracy of 75.38% is a testament to his ability on the ball. He also acts as a perfect defensive cover for the back line as his 90 tackles, 42 interceptions and 22 clearances suggest.
“I am happy with the added responsibility and gametime. I am happy with the team’s achievement of finishing third on the league table. Now, my focus is to finish the season on a high and go for the trophy,” said Lalengmawia, who also scored his first Hero ISL goal in NorthEast United FC’s last game of the league stage against Kerala Blasters FC in a 2-0 win.
“Everyone is happy and motivated, especially after reaching the semi-finals. Everyone was dancing in the dressing room. Hopefully, we can try and reach the final,” he added.