I-League team of the Round 22: Nurudeen Salau's brace helps United Sikkim thrash Air India 5-0

Goal.com revisits all the action from week 22 of the I-League and picks a team from the week’s best performers...
Both Churchill Brothers and East Bengal weren't able to make the best of their fixtures in the last two rounds, failing to pick wins in their respective fixtures and allowing Pune FC to sniff closer to the top two spots on the table. United Sikkim meanwhile, in the fight against the drop, have managed to pick their second win in style.

United Sikkim handed out a 5-0 thumping to a rudderless Air India side at the Paljor Stadium in Sikkim with their Nigerian forward Nurudeen Salau scoring a brace (60', 62') and with additional goals from John Landa Matkin (55') who started the rout and Thupden Bhutia finishing it off in second half added time. Pablo Rodriguez also converted from the spot after Air India goalkeeper Sukhwinder Singh was sent off for bringing down Salau in first half added time. Previously Air India defender V. Prem Kumar was also sent off for a straight red in the 31st minute.

Churchill Brothers and Salgaocar FC played out a drab stalemate at the Duler Stadium in Goa. With chances in the match coming at a premium, Salgaocar were thwarted by Sandip Nandy's brilliance in goal to deny them three points. This means that Churchill have failed to successfully extend their lead at the top of the table giving the rest of the pack a fair chance at winning the I-League crown.

Mohun Bagan threw away their lead twice in a game, to allow Shillong Lajong to take away an important point in their fight for saving the drop. Tolgay Ozbey’s opener was cancelled out by Boithang Haokip, who led the fight-back in the next minute itself, while Manish Maithani’s belter didn’t win the three points as a defensive lapse allowed Lalhimthara to score the equaliser.

Sporting Clube de Goa and ONGC FC played out a 1-1 draw at the Duler Stadium, Goa, in an I-League match. Dawson Fernandes had handed the home side the lead but following Samananda Singh receiving his marching orders, the away side did well to restore parity through Hassan Odeola. Sporting defender Mathew Gonsalves and ONGC's stopper-back Wahid Sali ensured their tight grip on the match to allow only a goal each against their sides.

Pune FC eased past Dempo with a scoreline of 2-0 in their encounter at the Balewadi stadium, Pune, that saw the Red Lizards climb to third on the I-League table. Sukhwinder Singh unleashed an absolute howitzer of a shot from 35 yards out in the 30th minute, and then setup James Moga just before half-time, as the two goals proved to be enough for the hosts.

Prayag United and East Bengal played out a 2-2 stalemate at the Kalyani Stadium in West Bengal, with Eelco Schattorie's side further denting Trevor Morgan's credentials in his pursuit of winning the side's maiden I-League crown. Chidi Edeh had put East Bengal ahead in the 41st minute and the lead was doubled by Manandeep Singh in the 49th minute from the penalty spot. However, Prayag United came back strongly after the hour mark, with Carlos Hernandez scoring in the 62nd minute and four minutes later became the architect of Ranti Martins Soleye's strike, helping them to level the scores.

Mumbai FC played out a 1-1 draw against Pailan Arrows in Pune. Both the goals came from the penalty spot, with Milan Singh getting the opener in the 26th minute, to which Yakubu replied with a penalty of his own in the 44th minute. The Arrows defender Pritam Kotal did ensure that the score didn't read negatively for his side as he moved from the midfield to the defensive citadel to earn a point from the tie.


     Sandip Nandy
Churchill Brothers SC


Wahid Sali

Mathew Gonsalves
Sporting Clube de Goa

Chika Wali
Pune FC

Narayan Das
Pailan Arrows


Carlos Hernandez
Prayag United


Sukhwinder Singh
Pune FC


Boithang Haokip
Shillong Lajong


Nurudeen Salau
United Sikkim

James Moga
Pune FC


Dawson Fernandes
Sporting Clube de Goa