I-League 2017-18: Season ratings of all I-League clubs
This edition of the Hero I-League had one of the most thrilling finishes in the tournament's history. Four out of the 10 teams were vying for the championship on D-Day, with Minerva Punjab scripting a historic win in the final day to clinch their maiden I-League trophy.
This season saw a lot of thrilling encounters with both the big two of Kolkata being in the title race till the last game of the season.
Northeast India discovered a new powerhouse(in terms of clubs), in NEROCA who finished second in the league against all odds.
The I-League teams also got the better of their cousins, the ISL franchises in the Super Cup, with five of the eight quarterfinalists being from the cash-deprived I-League.
Another success story has to be the rise of the Indian Arrows, even though they finished the league in the 10th spot, their style of play and never say die attitude won all hearts. Their tendency to gain points from unlikely situations added a different flavour to the league.
In this article, we take a look at the season ratings of all the 10 clubs who played in the I-league and Super Cup.
#10 Indian Arrows(7/10)
Some of you reading this piece probably will not agree with the rating given to them, but believe me, these young lads exceeded expectations this season.
They had to play most of the league without their star man and national hero goalkeeper, Dheeraj Singh who has gone on to sign for Scottish side Motherwell. Despite the loss of their guardian between the posts, the blue cubs put in a spirited display in every game.
This was the youngest ever Arrows side to play in the I-League and they gave a good account of their playing abilities.
The way they took Mumbai City FC to extra time in the Super Cup is another proof of how good a season they had despite the stats stating otherwise.
Their age, inexperience, and physicality all had a role to play in the position they finished in the league, but they won a lot of hearts with their style of play.
Naorem scored the I-League goal of the season, and Abhijeet Sarkar finished as the highest Indian goal scorer in the I-league.
#9 Churchill Brothers(5/10)
The lone representative from Goa in this season’s I-League finished ninth in the league and were relegated, or to say officially finished in the relegation spot(since Arrows are immune to relegation Churchill is the team which will be relegated).
Churchill has had its glory years, but now are battling survival in the I-League. They started the league poorly, and things went bad to worse.
They eventually sacked coach Mykola Schevchenko and also signed five new players in a single day, which was seen as a knee-jerk reaction by many. The new additions though failed to make any meaningful impact, in the I-League.
The Red Machine did manage to salvage some pride in this season when they got the better of Delhi Dynamos in the Super Cup. Their win against the ISL side started a series of victories for the I-League sides against their much-fancied rich rivals from ISL, in the Super Cup.