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5 things we learned from I-League round 8

Written by: Sourav Neogi

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With all that has been said and done in the past week, this season’s I-League has started to get into a proper shape with clear indications of a possible winner. As the latest round concluded, the points table remained almost intact even when all of the teams gained or lost few points in the standings. Khel Now picks five most important things that have been evident with the clubs in the recently concluded round 8.

Aizawl FC are the real deal under Khalid Jamil

The Mizoram-based club appointed Khalid Jamil at the beginning of the season after the Kuwait-born coach was sacked by Mumbai-based League outfit Mumbai FC. Aizawl FC was relegated from the I-League in the previous season but came back up this year with Jamil at the helm and the former Indian international has repaid the faith shown to him by the club with a series of magnificent performances.

Starting XI of Aizawl FC against Churchill Brothers in the last game

The Reds currently have 16 points from eight games and sit at the third place following East Bengal and Mohun Bagan sitting at the top-two slots. The Aizawl players have displayed consistent performances under Jamil, especially Jayesh Rane, Ashutosh Mehta and Albino Gomes who followed the former Mumbai FC coach to Aizawl from the Mumbai-based club.

Without further ado, it now has been evident for quite some time that Jamil has a point to prove this year with Aizawl FC and he is not stopping in the midway to get it.

Shivajians have finally found their feet

The Pune outfit has had a slow start this season under new first-team manager Dave Rogers, however, they have found their rhythm this season and are slowly becoming a force to be reckoned with. Dave Rogers’ team has secured nine points in eight outings and continue to be upsetters for the big guns.

Shivajians has drawn with Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC in their previous outings and defeated Shillong Lajong in their last game. As the season continues, the Red-and-Whites' chances of a good season continues to grow.

Chennai benefitting from managerial changes

Since the kick off to their debut I-League season, Chennai City FC has performed considerably better than the other league debutant, Minerva Punjab FC. However, after consecutive defeats in the League, the club sacked coach Robin Charles Raja and appointed V.Soundararajan in his place.

The new coach lead his team to their second win of the season against Mumbai FC last weekend. The players looked content with the new strategies in their last fixture and with given time, promises of a redeemed Chennai side grows only bigger and stronger.

Albert Roca's Bengaluru FC a work in progress

The I-League defending champions parted ways with League winning manager Ashley Westwood in the previous year and appointed Albert Roca as the head coach of the team. Since the appointment of the Spanish coach, Bengaluru FC has seen a decline in the performance in the recent times as they have failed to win a single game since their defeat against Kolkata giants East Bengal.

Sunil Chhetri in action against Minerva Punjab

Though the signs of a team in transition are there, the results are still a distant dream for the Blues. Sadly, their title chances are almost gone with the 1-1 draw against minnows Minerva Punjab FC in their last League fixture and the Blues will need to strengthen up for the next season and hopefully, the League dominating performances will return with a new season.

Kolkata clubs dampen derby with timid approach

It had been 16 long years since the Kolkata giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan went into the Derby holding the top two spot among themselves. However, with lots of anticipation and hype, expectations of a state-of-the-art performance from both the teams, the Kolkata Derby ended in a stalement.

East Bengal and Mohun Bagan both performed little to their true potential and several wasted chances ensured the match of becoming a complete bore as it was evident that both of the teams had seen better days beforehand and weren't willing to take enough risks.

The match was full of passing and defensive errors which led to several goal scoring chances, which were rubbed off the dirt by the forwards of both sides, displaying a rather dull performance. The League is progressing to its midway and East Bengal and Mohun Bagan need to buckle up their performance soon or the chances of missing out on the I-League glory will continue for the Kolkata giants for another year.

 

For other interesting insights on Indian football, click here

Published: Mon Feb 13, 2017 03:52 PM IST

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