Five things we learned from I-League matchday two

The second gameweek itself had plenty of talking points. Goal has a look at the important issues from the past weekend...

GOALBY   Rahul Bali     Follow @rahul_atma on twitter

Ten teams were in action on matchday two and while there were several things that caught every I-League faithful's eye, Goal lists down five of the most important moments.

Dempo's foreigners need to prove their worth

The Goan club have just a point to show for their efforts after the first two rounds of matches. This was despite them having the luxury of playing all their foreign signings, unlike a Mohun Bagan. Simon Colosimo and Shinnosuke Honda have exemplified just why Dempo miss the services of Mahesh Gawli at the back. Billy Mehmet’s work rate has been nothing short of shambolic and with a poor first touch and as to how he was allowed to complete 90 minutes remains a surprise. Beto, the seasoned Brazilian midfielder, will have to get back to his best form – which aided in Churchill Brothers’ title winning campaign last term. There is no denial that the fortunes of the team depend on primarily on how the foreign contingent performs. And going by the manner in which the Dempo quartet have, their hopes of putting together a strong title challenge and taking the club back to its glory days seems a farfetched idea.

Schattorie deserves credit

Not many expected the Kolkata outfit to be at the top of the table at any point in the season. In a summer where all the focus was on as to how would the team sustain itself after Prayag Group decided not to continue its sponsorship, their pre-season training started only in September, as opposed to the rest of the pack who began in July. Coach Eelco Schattorie has done a brilliant job in ensuring that his side got off to a dream start which will surely go a long way in lifting the spirits of the squad and the club as a whole. It must also be noted that apart from Eric Brown, most of their starting eleven remains the same which has further help them improve as a unit this season.


Versatality stands out

Every coach in the I-League would wish for a player like Haroon Amiri in their squad as he delivers in whichever position he is deployed in. He started as a centre-back against Dempo and was moved as a centre-forward in the second half. He created chances for his team-mates and was a constant thorn for the unimpressive Dempo defenders. The Goan side were pegged back into their own half as Amiri’s threat loomed large. Move over Yusif Yakubu, it is the Afghan skipper who looks to be the star in the team for the time being and possibly into the future.


Forgettable start to title defense

The defending champions are yet to hit the ground running this season with just a point from two matches. The Goan side are traditionally known to score a lot of goals and it has been surprising to see that the team has so far struggled to even put one past the opponent in over 180 minutes. Unlike Dempo SC who have had a pathetic start despite all their foreign players being available, the Red Machines have been plagued with injury worries. Hugo Machado, the star signing of the summer, has featured in the two games but is carrying a thigh injury. Henri Antchouet isn’t fully fit despite starting the last game. Add to that, the number of players who left in the summer haven’t been ably replaced. They next face Mumbai FC and going won’t be easy for sure.


Mohun Bagan need Odafa

While many have criticised the Nigerian striker for a poor work rate and not being a team man, the fact is that the Kolkata outfit have struggled to find the back of the net in his absence. The only decent piece of business done in the summer was to recruit Katsumi Yusa from ONGC and the frustration was apparent on the Japanese’s face as his team-mates were not on the same wavelength as him. Bagan fans would hope to see the duo of Odafa and Yusa link up in the coming matchdays.  

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