BY ANSELM NORONHA Follow @apnoronha on twitter
As the I-League resumed following the winter break, we pick out the five things we learned from round 17.
|Mumbai FC are the kings of 'draws'
In their last three outings, excluding the draw against Bengaluru FC, Khalid Jamil’s side have got a 1-1 result against Mohun Bagan, Rangdajied United and United Sports Club. While several coaches have admitted that beating Mumbai FC is a tough ask, the I-League table certainly gives a glimpse of that. They have only lost four matches in the I-League, which is the second best alongside East Bengal, Pune FC and Shillong Lajong. It’s no surprise that they have drawn the maximum number of matches in the league – nine, next only to their opponents – United SC with eight.
|Mohun Bagan lack firepower upfront
Mohun Bagan's woes are well documented and it came has no surprise as they failed to break the Salgaocar citadel in the 1-0 defeat. This was despite seeing more of the ball and creating more chances. Odafa Okolie's injury concerns have crippled the team's chances which only goes to highlight their over reliance of the star striker. Coach Karim Bencherifa has a tough job at hand as his side have only scored 16 goals this season, which is two more than Rangdajied United - who are placed at the bottom of the pile.
|Pune FC rely on youngsters
Following their disappointing showing at the Federation Cup, Mike Snoei saw his side being held by Sporting Clube de Goa in Pune. What was striking about the line-up of the Red Lizards was the presence of five players from their academy. This is certainly a welcome change in the I-League as not often teams rely on their own youth system to bring in players into the senior team. While Snoei has been playing these youngsters also because most of the senior players are injured, the brand of football played was much better than what they have been playing lately.
|Resilient Churchill Brothers
Churchill Brothers have the attacking flair to win any game given the kind of form they find themselves in. However they have also shown resilience lately as they held East Bengal to a 0-0 draw in an away fixture. This is certainly a welcome change for them as they have a negative goal difference. The Red Machines have some steel at the back which shall aid in their hopes of avoiding relegation.
|Rangdajied seem to be clueless
Rangdajied seem to be running out of ideas as they are placed at the bottom of the table with a mere twelve points from sixteen matches. They also hold the dubious record of having conceded the most number of goals in the I-League this season (27). Santosh Kashyap has time and again stated that Rangdajied won’t go down at the end of the season. However recent reports suggest that the former Air India coach has been given the boot. A change in the technical staff won’t help matters much as it’s the players who have to raise their performance levels.
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