The title challengers earned comfortable victories as newcomers Chennai City and Minerva Punja face a long season ahead…

In the first round of midweek games for the season, the top teams all won handsomely as the table begins to take shape. 

Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC both kept pace at the top, with East Bengal hot on their heels. Aizawl FC meanwhile, kept their fantastic start to the season. Towards the bottom, Churchill Brothers and Shillong Lajong still seek their first points of the season. 

The round’s first match was the Northeast Derby in which Aizawl FC held on to a tight 2-1 victory over the young side of Shillong Lajong. Lalruatthara and Mahmoud Al Amnah had put the home side into a comfortable 2-goal lead. Lajong tried their best but lacked firepower up top and Yuta Kinowaki’s late penalty proved insufficient for the visitors. 

Mohun Bagan, one of the major title contenders for the season thumped newcomers Minerva Punjab at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium. A brace for the side’s strikers Jeje Lalpekhlua and Darryl Duffy handed the hosts a romping victory and a reminder to the debutants of the task they face to stay in the league. 

At the same time, it was DSK Shivajians who registered their first win of the season, also palying against I-League newcomers in Chennai City. The team from the south were undone by the brilliance of DSK’s foreign stars in Juan Quero and Kim Song-Yong. The pair got a goal and assist each as Dave Rogers’ side racked up a comfortable 2-0 victory. 

In Wednesday’s games, East Bengal continued from where they left off against DSK, winning in Goa against Churchill Brothers. It was captain Lalrindika Ralte who played a starring role after scoring directly from a corner. Young forward ‘Semboi’ Haokip rounded up the scoring in an easy 2-0 win. 

It was the reigning champions who finished off the round of fixtures, and the side from Bengaluru provided another masterclass as they brushed aside the challenge of Mumbai FC. A third home win on the trot was lead by striker CK Vineeth, who looks to be in the form of his life. The 28-year old scored a hat-trick, the first in the league this season to help his side cruise to a 3-0 victory. 

That win from Bengaluru sees them remain on top, but only on goal difference as Mohun Bagan kept the pace going themselves. East Bengal and Aizawl FC also find themselves in the mix at the top. 

Player of the Week: CK Vineeth