Five things we learned from I-League Round 23

Goal lists down some of the most important talking points from round 23 of India's top division league...

This game week saw disappointment for the top three side as Bengaluru FC, Pune FC and Salgaocar FC dropped points. There was mixed joy for the bottom placed teams as Mumbai FC and Rangdajied United registered vital victories in the battle to save relegation.                                                                    

Pune FC need to take their chance

Pune FC last won an I-League match back in February when they defeated Mohammedan Sporting – a club who is struggling to save the drop. Mike Snoei’s side are in a bit of turmoil for a team that is challenging for the title. Their recent slump came when they took a point from the match against Bengaluru FC in which they had a several chances to close out the game. The missed opportunities might just come back to haunt them just like last season when they missed out on the title to Churchill Brothers. If they have any hopes of winning the league, their last set of games will be crucial.

Change of fortunes

Tolgay Ozbey and Ranti Martins took all the accolades for their respective teams when they single-handedly delivered a killer blow to their opponents. Ozbey scored four spectacular goals against Churchill Brothers and once again showed why he is class in front of goal. On the other hand, Martins scored twice at the death to hurt Salgaocar’s title chances. Both Ozbey and Martins weren’t having good spells this season at Mohammedan Sporting and United SC of Kolkata. A change of clubs in January has seen an upturn in their fortunes
Contrasting forms in Cup and League

Defending champions Churchill brothers fell to a demoralizing 4-1 defeat against Dempo. This was their ninth league defeat of the season. It must be noted that they look a different side in Cup competitions. They won the Federation Cup with ease and have been unbeaten in the AFC Cup so far. In the I-League, their struggles are well documented. Denzil Franco has mentioned of the atmosphere in the dressing room not being pleasant.

No difference in Mumbai's home and away form

Mumbai FC won their away fixture against Shillong Lajong last weekend. A striking fact seen in their season has been that they have accumulated more points away from home. However their victory over Pune FC was at the Balewadi Sports Complex, a venue where Mumbai also play their home matches. So it can be said that their home and away form has been similar.

Let-back an area for concern for Salgaocar

Salgaocar’s defense has been solid since the resumption of the I-League as they have been breached just once in the last six matches. However they crashed to a 2-1 defeat at home to Rangdajied where they conceded two late goals. Their only weak point in their back four has been their left back with as many as five different players playing in that position this season. Nicolau Colaco, Rahul Kumar, Fulganco Cardozo, Gilbert Oliveira and the latest being Caitano Costa have all been tried and tested. It is evident that the Goan club needs to find a solution to their issue and quick.


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