The fourth week of the I-League came to a close with defending champions Chennai City FC failing to win for the second straight time as they only managed a 1-1 draw away to Aizawl FC.
It was a week of fine margins as no games were decided by more than one goal difference.
East Bengal got over the line against promoted side TRAU FC with a late goal while Mohun Bagan defeated high-flying Gokulam Kerala.
It was also a good week for Punjab FC who moved up to the third spot after beating Indian Arrows 1-0. The north Indian outfit would be happy with their response after being handed a 3-0 defeat in the opening week.
As another truncated week of action after the Kolkata derby between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal was postponed, approaches, we wrap up the fourth round of action in the I-League
Kolkata giants hit their stride
It’s a shame that the Kolkata derby has to be rescheduled as it was perhaps the perfect time for the match-up to happen.
After a long time, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal would have entered the fixture as the top two teams in the league, had other results gone a certain way.
More importantly, the two teams appear to be coming into their own in the past few weeks. They registered identical 2-1 wins in the last round but the quality of opposition meant the emotions that followed were quite contrasting.
Bagan edged out an in-form Gokulam Kerala side who many believe will challenge for top honours this season. East Bengal, meanwhile, huffed and puffed to beat newcomers TRAU. However, it is these kinds of games that East Bengal failed to win in the last few years that ultimately cost them the title.
So, the Red and Golds could be fairly pleased with the result despite the performance not being of the highest quality.
It is still early days in the league, but East Bengal and Mohun Bagan finally look the part.
Aizawl FC were pondering about opting out of the I-League this season but decided to extend their roller-coaster ride in the competition. The uncertainty over their future ahead of the season though hasn’t affected the Mizoram side.
They are a tough nut to crack and remain an opposition few teams relish playing against. Their home record has been especially impressive over the years and the Mizoram club are unbeaten at home this season.
This week they earned a creditable 1-1 draw against defending champions Chennai City FC and if the balance of play is anything to go by, they should have won the game comfortably. Aizawl’s strength is the defensive organisation that has seen them concede just three times in four games. If they can get their away form right, Aizawl could dream of repeating their heroics of 2017.
Indian Arrows, TRAU continue to struggle
Indian Arrows and TRAU are yet to record a point this campaign after three games and it looks like their struggles may be prolonged this season.
TRAU playing their first season in the I-League have conceded seven goals so far while scoring just one. The Arrows, on the other hand, have conceded only four in three matches but have scored just once.
The Arrows have struggled to finish off moves and failed to make spells of promise count. TRAU, on the other hand, haven’t displayed the same kind of quality but there has been no shortage of fight. They have had an extremely tough start to the season facing Chennai City, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan in their first three games.
They were minutes away from getting a famous point at East Bengal but couldn’t keep their concentration as the Red and Golds snatched the win.
Foreigners rule the roost in front of goal
I-League has been a breeding ground for Indian strikers in the past, but this season the foreign imports have dominated the goalscoring charts.
The last round was no different as seven out of the nine goals scored came from foreigners. Overall, only 11 of the 44 goals scored have come from Indian players while the rest have been scored by overseas players.
Igor Stimac won’t be too pleased to see these numbers as he would have banked on the I-League to help generate attacking talent that would ease the national team’s scoring woes.