New Delhi - You have to take notice of Pailan Arrows now. Apart from the fact that after three rounds of the I-League, they are among the four unbeaten sides so far — Dempo SC, Prayag United and East Bengal being the others – Arrows have time and again proved that the future Indian football is in safe custody.
All India Football Federation’s developmental side were once again successful in pulling off a resolute performance against Goan giants Salgaocar by keeping the former league champions at bay in an otherwise lopsided contest.
Every match is played to a plan and it was the organisation of Arthur Papas’ boys that made life difficult for the more established Men in Green. Papas was absolutely right when he stated at the post-match press conference: “You have to have the fight in you to be in the game.”
The other result that raised a few eyebrows was ONGC – playing in their makeshift home at the Ambedkar Stadium in Delhi – almost getting the better of Prayag United. If not for Ranti Martins’ late equaliser in the 88thminute of the match, the newly promoted looked set to log full points riding Eric Brown’s 36th minute goal.
Otherwise, Round 3 played perfectly to the festive mood. The big fishes won and there were no major hiccups, much like the Porter scene in Macbeth.
If Churchill Brothers won easily against Mumbai FC, Dempo had to earn three points against a rejuvenated United Sikkim. Mohun Bagan finally heaved a sigh of relief after registering their first win of the season against Air India.
Meanwhile, Federation Cup champions East Bengal survived a late surge from Pune FC to extend their unbeaten run courtesy a first half goal from Chidi Edeh and acrobatic work by Abhijit Mondal under the bar throughout the match.
A thriller in Shillong saw the hosts Shillong Lajong FC succumb eventually to Sporting Clube de Goa who came back from behind to win 2-1 after the former took a first half lead through Gnebeme Friday.