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Notes from the I-League 2020-21 [Round 4]

I-League 2020-21 Round 4
Get in lads! Indian Arrows players celebrate after earning a point against Aizawl FC in the I-League.
Source: @ILeagueOfficial

Absolute shithousery in the I-League be it the Kolkata giants finally paying players’ salaries, a fight over a spot kick, or celebrating a drab 0-0 draw.

Show me the Money!

Mohammedan Sporting Club released a statement saying that they have resolved the “salary issues” and all the players have been paid their dues.

While this is great news for the players, others would call this proper shithousery. Especially when the Kolkata club is rumored to have an interest in signing Pedro Manzi. Remember him? Top scorer of the 18/19 season with Chennai City FC. Scorer of four hat tricks. Well, he had a stint in Japan and things didn’t quite work out for him.

However, if Mohammedan wants to obtain his services, it’s best that they let the Spaniard-Uruguayan forward know that no Mohammedan player goes a full season without payment.

Final Score: Mohammedan 0 – Punjab FC RoundGlass

Sticking to the Mohammedan theme, the Kolkata team do need a striker, especially after that drab 0-0 draw against RoundGlass Punjab FC.

It was one of those cases where a football match threatened to break out in the middle of the park.

In the 49th minute it nearly did. Punjab FC’s Ruivah Hormipam slalomed through the midfield and thumped the ball into the woodwork from the edge of the box.

That single moment was deemed good enough for the lad to pick up the man of the match award a day before his 20th birthday.

The @RGPunjabFC post at full time is shithousery at its finest.

Kashmir Lads in the Limelight

No, not Real Kashmir FC, but it was two teenagers from the valley who grabbed the headlines.

First of all, Aizawl FC will be kicking themselves after they let in an injury time equalizer against the young Indian Arrows team.

Having scored an early goal, the Mizo team missed multiple chances as they failed to snuff the hopes of a team whose oldest member is 18 years old.

Then in the 93rd minute, Indian Arrows won their first corner of the match. A floated ball into the box and was completely missed by Aizawl goalie Zothanmawia with his impression of a Max Payne bullet time jump.

17-year-old Sajad Hussain Parray headed the ball into an empty net to equalize. The Kashmiri lad was also adjudged the man of the match.

Across the Arabian Sea, another teenage Kashmiri lad, Suhail Ahmad Bhat scored the winner against the UAE. India’s U-16 national team was in the UAE as part of an exposure tour.

Good on them!

Puskas Puraskar

No goals worth bragging about but Gokulam Kerala’s third goal against NEROCA FC was Indian football at its finest.

A freekick was floated in from the right. Ghanian Dennis Antwi totally misjudged the flight of the ball and headed the thin air.

Thus entered Jestin George.

The defender had little time to react. He did try to put his head to the ball but got it horribly wrong. Jestin somehow ended up shithousing his way in the scoresheet when the ball hit his chest and looped in marvelously over the NEROCA goalie Bishorjit Singh. A classic case of ball hitting the man.

Of course, he wheeled away in celebration like a pro. Even Lionel Messi could not have been able to pull off that move.

I-League 2020-21 Round 4
Jest over the ‘keeper: Gokulam Kerala FC’s Jestin George chested the ball over the outstretched hands of NEROCA’s Bishorjit Singh.
Pic Courtesy: @ILeagueOfficial

Give me a Penalty or Pay the Price!

In the 84th minute of the Gokulam Kerala – NEROCA match, Dennis Antwi was brought down in the box.

3-0 up and a chance to pad the stats, the Ghanian picked up the ball and placed it on the penalty spot. Now he has two of his teammates for company: his Ghanian compatriot Philip Adjah and Afghan midfielder Sharif Mohammed are demanding for the right to take the spot kick.

Even the rival goalkeeper was fed up with the antics and asked them to get over it and take the kick. Antwi moved away but Adjah and Sharif are arguing over the spotkick like two school kids in a house match.

It was then Sharif decided to boot the ball over to the Kandahar sidelines and trudge away.

Scenes! Shithousery Level 1000.

To save further embarrassment, skipper Mohammed Awal, the third Ghanian in the Gokulam team, called Sharif over and allowed him to take the spot kick.

Thankfully, the Afghan did not miss.  Would’ve been hilarious if he did though.

The Goal Scoring Ratio

11 goals were scored in the fourth round of the I-League and the Indian players edged out the foreign signings.

Own goals also managed to shithouse their way to the scoresheet twice – one scored by an Indian and one by a foreign signing.

The overall tally after round four looks like this:

Foreign players – 27
Indian players – 22
Own goals – 3

…and finally

If there is one thing we really miss during the pandemic, it is attending a match on an empty ground.

The sound of the ball going off the boots, the crunching tackles, coaches and staff members bellowing instructions, elderly gentlemen muttering “bloody useless fellow”, bad passes, poor goalkeeping, scuffed shots, volleys into Row Z, looking at the team sheet and shouting at the jersey # 8 who put the ball to Row Z.  

Ah! Good times.

For now let’s just revel in the acoustics of the I-League.

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