Five Talking Points: I-League Round 14
DSK Shivajians made headlines with a drubbing of Mumbai FC in the ‘Maha Derby,’ while title contenders East Bengal and Aizawl FC both dropped points. Bengaluru FC and Mohun Bagan played out an entertaining but equally controversial draw…
1. East Bengal failed to capitalize again
With Aizawl FC throwing a 0-2 lead against Minerva Punjab to draw 2-2, title rivals East Bengal had the chance to go top with a win of their own, but their sorrow story of each season continued as they slumped to a 2-1 loss against Chennai City FC. Now with just three games and a difficult Kolkata Derby still to be played, the Red and Yellow Brigade have made matters worse for themselves. Might just not be their year yet again.
2. Kashyap leading Mumbai FC to the exit with every passing round
Nothing new in here. Kashyap’s pitiful journey with Mumbai FC will soon be ending on a sorrow note. With Churchill Brothers surging up the table, there is no way the Mumbaikars were surviving the drop as we discussed earlier. But much to the frustration of the fans, Kashyap is not even making an effort to redeem the sinking ship. To add to their misery, they were humbled by a DSK Shivajians side that were themselves finding inspiration in their own season of ups and downs. Relegation is a foregone conclusion, but Kashyap furthermore tarnished his image by questioning the upbringing of the Mumbai FC supporters, the same faithful who travelled to Pune despite their dire season. Many are left wondering how the man is still at the club.
3. Mohun Bagan making it tough for themselves
Beating the holders at their fortress to reclaim their credentials as title contenders was not an easy job, but considering the form the Blues are in, the Mariners should have done their job. On Saturday, all the eyes were glued on the massive encounter at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, where Mohun Bagan were out to dismantle Bengaluru FC, while the latter, to restore their lost pride. Both teams played like teams that justify Champions of the past two years, but Sanjoy Sen’s side needed more inspiration, which none of their star performers were able to deliver. They face the Blues again after the international break, which would present the Mariners a chance of reprisal.
4. Thangboi Singto’s underrated heroics going unnoticed
Low transfer budget and more than half of the starting XI comprising of U-22 players, finishing with a respected spot in the table avoiding the drop are indeed praiseworthy for Thangboi Singto and his side. On Sunday, the Reds faced giant killers Churchill Brothers at their home. Although an inspired Vishal Kaith bailed Shillong out, their gritty performance echoed off their overall performance this season. To put into technical terms, Shillong are two points ahead of holders Bengaluru FC, illustrating how quietly and efficiently Singto’s side have gone about with their business. With as many as three teams having immunity, survival was never going to be easy with limited resources but Thangboi Singto has done wonders and deserves to be praised.
5. Aizawl FC's real test starts now
When Aizawl FC led Minerva Punjab 0-2 in Ludhiana, the general perception would have been that it was just a routine victory for the ‘to be’ Champions. But Minerva Punjab stormed back to draw 2-2, heating up the title race once again. To Aizawl’s luck, East Bengal floundered in Chennai, allowing Khalid Jamil’s side to open up a 3 point lead at the top. There is not much left to play for, and with a crucial run-in against Bengaluru FC and Churchill Brothers on the travels still left, further discrepancies could cost Aizawl FC the dream they are living.