BY Rahul Bali Follow @rahul_atma on twitter
There was no shortage of drama, individual brilliance and shocks on Matchday Three. While there were several things that caught every I-League faithful's eye, Goal lists down five of the most important points.
|Shillong’s good start falling apart|
The north eastern club broke their voodoo by finally managing to a game in Goa as they thrashed Dempo SC 3-0 on the opening matchday. While this was certainly a commendable result given that they have never managed a lot of points from their away fixtures, their next two home games didn’t fetch them the rewards. A goalless draw against a Raul Fabiani-less Pune FC and a 1-0 defeat to Sporting Clube de Goa aren’t the sort of results you would want to have in the opening games at your home stadium, especially given that their city rivals performed admirably well against Dempo to fetch a 2-2 draw in Shillong. Off the field too, their game against Pune FC was poorly managed with a delay of over an hour due a missing ambulance while their second match saw the teams complain of poor visibility with play being held up. Lajong’s next test is against East Bengal who arguably have had the strongest squad in the league for the last couple of seasons. However history is on their side as the Red and Gold have failed to fetch three points against them in the north east. Will we see Lajong win and stop the downward slide or continue their good run against the Kolkata outfit?
|Salgaocar FC waving the Goan flag high|
Not many would have backed the Green and Whites to come good this season. Derrick Pereira’s side have performed admirably well in their opening two fixtures against Churchill Brothers and Mohammedan Sporting. While the rest of the Goan sides are struggling to find their groove yet, Salgaocar are on their way up. While it is certainly way too early to talk of title race, for now, they are the safest bet to continue the trend of a club from Goa winning the silverware at the end of the season.
|Home games allow Bengaluru FC to settle well|
Allotting five straight home games for the fledgling club was a smart decision by the I-League. Not only has it settled nerves, it has allowed them to build a fan base before they begin their travels. They have given a good account of themselves so far having conceded just a single goal in their three outings. They have certainly caught the imagination of the southern city and have shown that if the fans are treated well at the stadiums, it wouldn’t be a task to lure them for the games. A six-page matchday programme is a novel initiative. While experiencing the Kolkata derby still remains the most enthralling experience for an Indian football fan, watching Bengaluru FC’s home games is a must for the club officials of the rest of the pack to educate them on what they need to do to ensure fans throng to their stadiums as well.
Except for Rangdajied United versus Dempo SC where the final scoreline read 2-2, all of the games played in matchday three saw the winning team maintain a clean sheet. While United Sports Club struggled to find their way past Bengaluru despite a top performance by Eric Brown, John Johnson and Curtis Osano are proving to be a handful for the opposition attackers. Mohammedan Sporting’s Josimar Martins and Israil Gurung missed a few chances as the Salgaocar FC rearguard held firm. Karanjit Singh produced a gem of a display against Mohammedan to keep a clean sheet. Churchill Brothers have themselves to blame as they missed from the spot and a few more chances that came their way as Mumbai FC recorded a 2-0 win in Goa.
|Former Dempo SC players in good form|
Dempo SC have been in poor form and assistant coach Mauricio Afonso has attributed it to a lack of fitness. Coach Arthur Papas is still in Australia sorting his visa issues and one wonders as to why was this left to attend so late when the league has already kicked-off. Interestingly former Dempo SC players have enjoyed a rich vein of form. Climax Lawrence is anchoring the midfield for Mumbai FC and scored a goal against Churchill Brothers. Valeriano Rebello also has put in consistent shifts for the Mumbai-based outfit while Joaquim Abranches has given a decent account of himself at East Bengal.
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