I-League 17/18: Round-up of action-packed January 2018
The new edition of Hero I-League began from 25 November 2017 and comprises of new and old teams. Every team is eligible to field five foreign players in the ground during a match.
The January transfer window came to a close, hence, It is always interesting to see the foreign players making a difference along with national players in the competition.
Let us look at some highlights on the month of January.
Minerva FC on the top
League leaders Minerva Punjab FC continue to march forward on the top of the table with 26 points from 11 games.
The team from Punjab met with a draw against mighty East Bengal FC in the last match which made them the second highest goal scoring team with 16 goals.
Chencho Gyeltshen already won the hearts of the football fans with his mesmerizing performance and 6 goals besides his name.
Minerva FC was unbeaten in their last five games, they back to back won four matches in this month and ended the January with a draw. Minerva Punjab FC will meet Churchill Brothers FC in Goa on 2nd February at 5:30 p.m.
The story of the Kolkata giants
The Kolkata derby raised many eyebrows where arch-rivals Mohun Bagan beat East Bengal in the return leg by two goals. Currently, East Bengal FC is in the third place of the table with 20 points from 12 games, as a result, a draw in their last match may be a glimmer of hope for the red and golds to stay on track for the title.
East Bengal signed Ansumana Kromah and Dudu Omegbemi in place of Willis Plaza and Charles De Souza; Katsumi Yusa is the highest goal scorer in the team with 5 goals and on the third place in the highest goal scorer chart.
Mohun Bagan won the derby with two early goals came from Dipanda Dicka, and now in the fourth place with 17 points from 11 games. They won two games, lost two and drew one in the month of January.Cameroonian forward Dipanda Dicka is leading the race for highest goal scorer award with 7 goals.
The green and maroons signed Akram Moghrabi to bolster the attack. Mohun Bagan will face Shillong Lajong FC in an away match on 3 February.
The rise of Churchill Brothers FC
Churchill Brothers FC made a series of new winter signing to solidify the defence as well as attack. Churchill won three games, drew one, and lost one in their last match against NEROCA FC. They made a quick comeback in the points table from bottom to the eighth place with 10 points from 10 games. The team will meet Minerva Punjab FC on 2nd February in Tilak Maidan Stadium, Goa.
Football in the South
The two teams from the Southern part of India, Chennai City FC, and Gokulam Kerala FC made a disastrous start in this season. Gokulam Kerala FC is in the bottom of the table with 10 points from 11 games and Chennai City FC is above them in ninth place with 10 points from 12 games thus both the team needs to make a comeback in the upcoming matches.
Gokulam Kerala FC won two matches out of five games with two back to back win on the month of January; They registered their first victory in their home ground against Shillong Lajong FC. Gokulam FC will meet NEROCA FC at Imphal on 4th February.
Chennai City FC won one, lost two and drew three in their last matches. Jean Michael Joachim is the third highest top scorer along with Katsumi Yusa and Felix Chidi by 5 goals. Chennai City will face Aizawl FC on 3rd February.
Three giants from NorthEast
NEROCA FC, Shillong Lajong Football Club, and Aizawl FC are the three giants from NorthEast, who started their journey as a strong contender.
The team from Manipur, NEROCA FC is in the second place of the table with 24 points from 13 games. They scored 15 goals till now in the competition and must be brimming with confidence after their last win against Churchill Brothers. Felix Odili Chidi is the third highest goal scorer with 5 goals besides his name and his teammate Singam Subash Singh is with 3 goals.
Defending Champions Aizawl FC is in the sixth place of the table with 15 points from 10 games. Aizawl FC won one, drew two and lost two matches on the month of January, they lost against NEROCA FC by 2-1 in the NorthEast derby. Aizawl FC will face Chennai City FC in their next game. Yugo Kobayashi has 3 goals besides his name.
Shillong Lajong Football Club is in the fifth place of the table with 17 points from 13 games. They scored 11 goals and conceded 16 till now in the competition. Abdoulaye Koffi scored 3 goals and made some eye-catching performance for the Shillong team. Shillong Lajong won two games in the month of January. They will face Mohun Bagan on 3rd February at Shillong.
The Young Indian Arrows
Indian Arrows won only one game in the month of January but they are a challenge to any opponent. They lost five, drew one and lost one in their last seven games, as a result, Arrows are in the seventh place of the table with 11 points from 13 games. Abhijit Sarkar, Rahul Kannooly Balan, and Aniket Jadhav are always dangerous in front of the goal. Sanjeev Stalin and Anwar Ali are strong in the defensive line. The youngsters will face East Bengal FC in Kolkata on 4 February from 5:30 p.m.