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Goal recaps all the action from week one of the I-League and chooses a team from among the best performers...


GOALBY   AYUSH SRIVASTAVA     Follow @ayush_sri on twitter


After a long hiatus, the I-League’s new season has finally kicked off, with a whole host of new players, coaches and even a sponsor!

With 14 goals from six games, there was plenty of action. Though it may concern Indian football lovers that there was no broadcast of any games, and also that Indians scored just three of those 14 goals, with C.S Sabeeth being the only established striker to get on the score-sheet.

In a battle of two new coaches at the helm, Pune FC outsmarted the recently crowned Durand Cup winners Mohammedan Sporting 3-1, in an I-League encounter in Kolkata. The Red Lizards’ new trio of foreigners, Calum Angus, Raul Fabiani and James Meyer impressed, with the two attackers getting on the score-sheet. The Equatorial Guinea striker’s red card though, will definitely be a dampener, especially with Pune FC being light of options upfront.

Churchill Brothers’ title defense got off to a bad start, as a Darryl Duffy strike from an Arindam Bhattacharya error led to Salgaocar FC winning their first game with Derrick Pereira in-charge. The former Pune FC coach seems to have stamped his mark at his new club already, as they seemed efficient in possession, and solid at the back.

The United SC faithful finally got some joy after a tumultuous off-season, as their side prevailed over Rangdajied United by two goals, scored by Eric Brown and Ranti Martins. Eelco Schattorie exposed the loophole in the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) ill-thought policy on fielding an U-23 player, as he removed Biswajit Biswas within five minutes of kick-off, to replace him with the experienced C.K Vineeth.

Mumbai FC meanwhile clinched a point against Sporting Clube de Goa,in an I-League game held at the Balewadi stadium in Pune. The Flaming Oranje had to rely on Ogba Kalu’s penalty, after John Coutinho had put Mumbai FC ahead. After the game, Oscar Bruzon was furious at the condition of the pitch, and blamed the turf for his side’s inability to play their natural game.

The big surprise though, was Dempo SC’s capitulation against Lajong in Goa, as the North-East based side finally banished their Goan voodoo for good. Cornell Glen gave the performance of the round, scoring with two clinical strikers, with Boithang Haokip’s freekick sandwiched in-between. While it was a great day for the away side, the poor performance shall leave a lot to mull over for Arthur Papas, who has carried out a full-fledged clear-out this summer, in a bid to stamp his mark at the club.

Bengaluru FC meanwhile, hoped to kick off the season in grand fashion at home against Mohun Bagan. However their profligacy came back to haunt them, as C.S Sabeeth’s last gasp header, cancelled out Sean Rooney’s strike. Earlier, both the sides had missed a penalty each, while Sunil Chhetri missed a sitter, after having been surprisingly left on the bench at the start.

TEAM OF ROUND 1

Kunal Sawant

Mumbai FC

 

Robin Gurung
Shillong Lajong

 



Chika Wali
Salgaocar FC


 

Gurjinder Kumar
Pune FC


 

 

Nikhil Kadam
Pune FC


John Menyongar
Bengaluru FC




Clifton Dias
Salgaocar FC




Jovel Martins
SC Goa


 

Cornell Glen
Shillong Lajong

 



Raul Fabiani
Pune FC


 

Eric Brown
United SC


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