BY AYUSH SRIVASTAVA Follow @ayush_sri on twitter
The new I-League season kicked-off last weekend, setting a marker for the weeks that are to follow. While there were several things that caught every I-League faithful's eye from this matchday’s action, Goal lists down five of the most important moments.
|Quality new signings come to the fore
Every new season, one of the things fans look forward to, are the new foreign editions to the league. In recent times, some names of formidable pedigree have graced the league, unlike in the past, when unknown players were plucked from obscurity. The first gameweek saw the like of Raul Fabiani, Calum Angus and most notably, Cornell Glen, come to the fore. While the likes of Simon Colosimo did not have a great debut, it is a long season ahead for the teams, and there are plenty of games left, for the players to find their form.
|The ‘unmarketable’ league is thronged by fans
Duler Stadium was thronged by over 4000 fans in Goa, while Mohammedan Sporting had a turnout of around 8000 fans. Their media officer claimed that it was a sell out! Bangalore also saw an impressive turnout on the return of I-League action in the city, showing that there are takers for the game in the country. It remains to be seen, if the numbers stay at this level, for the coming games.
|United SC make a mockery of AIFF’s U-23 player rule
Amongst the many changes made by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) this summer, was a rule that made it compulsory for clubs to start a player aged below 23. However, Eelco Schattorie’s side was quick to find the loophole in that ruling, as within five minutes of kick-off, they substituted Biswajit Sarkar out, in favour of the experienced C.K Vineeth. Nobody can blame the club for taking advantage of the ill-thought clause, but the Indian FA would do well, to plug this loophole, as soon as possible or other clubs shall soon follow suit. Well done, Schattorie for bringing this to everyone's attention!
|Profligacy costs points
Bengaluru FC, Mohammedan Sporting, Sporting Clube de Goa were just three of the sides, which ended the weekend ruing their missed opportunities. Ashley Westwood’s side missed several chances to double their lead, before a C.S Sabeeth equalizer pegged them back. Mohammedan Sporting were similarly wasteful, and were punished by a ruthless Pune FC. Sporting Goa too failed to make the most of their superiority, and were held to a draw by Mumbai FC.
|Some promising youngsters on the horizon
While United SC took the opportunistic route of making full use of the loophole in the AIFF’s U-23 player policy, other clubs fielded some new youngsters, who were promising in their displays. The duo of Nikhil Kadam of Pune FC and Clifton Dias of Salgaocar, even made Goal’s team of the week, showing their potential with strong displays. The likes of Collin Abranches, Stephen Baretto and Alesh Sawant were other players who could be players to watch out for, in the coming weeks.