After a breather in round five, debutants Bengaluru FC returned to action in style as they thumped Dempo 3-1 to register their fourth consecutive home win, and it was enough to send them three points clear at the top.
Dempo had come into the game full of confidence after beating East Bengal in round five, but Bengaluru caught Arthur Papas’s team off guard as they raced to a 2-0 lead inside the first 11 minutes. Australian Sean Rooney completed his brace in the second half to make it 3-0 with Clifford Miranda’s freekick only proving to be a consolation for Dempo.
After the game, Papas was full of praise for Ashley Westwood’s side and admitted that his team never recovered following the two early goals.
Bengaluru FC are getting better with every game as Westwood seems to have found the right balance of youth and experience. The Bangalore Football Stadium is turning into a fortress with another attendance of more than 6000 on a weekday and at a relatively new I-League venue.
It has been a dream start for the JSW-owned club so far, but tougher tests lie ahead, starting with their first away game of the campaign against East Bengal in round seven.
With Pune FC not in action, Salgaocar was the only other team who could have gone top by matching Bengaluru FC’s result. But the Goan club were surprisingly beaten by Mohun Bagan, a result which also ended their unbeaten start.
However, another Goan outfit Sporting Clube picked up their third straight win with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Rangdajied United, who with every passing round look favourites for relegation. Shillong Lajong though returned to winning ways for the first time since round one as they beat Mumbai FC by the odd goal in a five-goal thriller.
The round concluded with a goalless draw between Mohammedan Sporting and United SC in the ‘other’ Kolkata derby. Manish Maithani came on for Mohammedan Sporting in the second half to become the third IMG-Reliance contracted player to feature in the Airtel I-League with Shouvik Ghosh and Pritam Kotal already appearing for Mohun Bagan in their win against Salgaocar. More such IMG-R loanees will be seen in action in the coming rounds.
Bengaluru FC 3-1 Dempo; Mohun Bagan 2-1 Salgaocar; Mumbai FC 2-3 Shillong Lajong; Sporting Clube 3-0 Rangdajied United; Mohammedan Sporting 0-0 United SC