BY Rahul Bali Follow @rahul_atma on twitter
The latest round of games in the I-League supplied no end of drama and farce, as well as a collection of stunning goals. Here we pick out the five things we learned from this week's action…
|Machado’s form belies his team’s fortunes
The 31-year old Portuguese midfielder is in top form after recovering from his injury. In the last gameweek, he scored with a peach of a free-kick against Shillong Lajong in the 90th minute which killed off the hosts’ hopes of garnering their first three points at home. He was a constant threat and initiated several attacking moves for his team. While the Goan side continues it struggle to find momentum in their season, Machado is undoubtedly a top player that they managed to rope in a summer where the club has flopped in the transfer dealings.
|Pune FC's strike force is thin|
One look at the squad assembled by the Red Lizards and it is apparent that the club isn’t very strong upfront. They scraped past Rangdajied United thanks to a strike by Calum Angus, the centre-back. In the absence of Raul Fabiani, who has since been replaced by Mustapha Riga, the options they have to lead the line are James Meyer, Prakash Thorat and Thongkhosiem Haokip. Meyer isn’t a number nine and is more of an attacking midfielder who can play down the flanks. Haokip has already impressed with a winner over Mohun Bagan after coming on as a substitute but to expect him to lead the line from the start is expecting far too much from the youngster. Thorat, who won the Golden Boot in the Nagpur and Aurangabad leagues, has been deployed as a winger in his stint in the I-League at Air India for the last two seasons. Unlike the other top clubs leading the table in Salgaocar FC and Bengaluru FC who have at least three players, who are experienced and can slot in the number nine position, Pune FC cannot boast of the same depth upfront.
|Bengaluru 'impress' in their first away test|
Bengaluru FC certainly have been the toast of this season’s I-League. Having won four of their five home games, the unbeaten side had to face East Bengal on the road. While they did give a decent account of themselves at Kalyani, the manner in which they ended up conceding the two goals was a tad unfortunate. They did have a couple of chances to score in the first half and even managed to hit the bar, but couldn’t find the back of the net. Critics may point of them having failed in their first test on the road but their performance wasn’t that bad to speak negatively of.
|Dominating games doesn't always result in a victory|
Sporting Clube de Goa are the most entertaining side to watch in the league by far. With nine goals scored and eight conceded, you can be assured of never getting bored. They lost 3-1 to Mohammedan Sporting, a scoreline which flatters to deceive. The Flaming Oranje dominated the ball possession and would blame their attackers for not making the chances that came their way count. They could have had a comfortable victory over the Black and Whites but paid the price in the end for not being clinical upfront.
|Bagan finding their feet|
The Mariners are gradually clawing their way back after a disappointing start to their season. The addition of Souvik Ghosh and Pritam Kotal has certainly added more steel at the back. They edged past Mumbai FC last week where some of their players impressed. Adil Khan gave a good account of himself in the midfield while Manish Bhargav was on the score sheet. They continue to miss Odafa Okolie but the midfield is taking on the mantle to score goals which is certainly a positive sign for Karim Bencherifa as they face Dempo SC next.
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