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Notes from the I-League 2020-21 [Round 11&12]

I-League 2020-21 Round 11 & Round 12
Golden Boot: TRAU FC’s Khangembam Bidyashagar Singh is at the top of the goal scoring charts the I-League.
Photo Courtesy: I-League

Churchill Brothers are on the verge of lifting their third title, while the Scots of Real Kashmir have been lost in translation.

And yes, Khangembam Bidyashagar Singh is a baller.

Churchill set to take over India

Amidst all the hullabaloo of the Indian Super League semi-finals, the second phase of the I-League got underway, the most successful Goan team not named Dempo has taken a firm grip on the trophy.

With the I-League’s adaptation of the caste system kicking off in style, Churchill Brothers is on a class of their own as they remain unbeaten in 11 matches.

After the 2-1 defeat of Real Kashmir, the Goan team went six points clear. The remaining teams in the Championship stage are left slugging it out as only three points separate the five teams.

Four matches to go and their closest rivals, TRAU and Gokulam Kerala, have to pull off an incredible heist to have a chance to win the crown for the first time. We will find out soon enough as Churchill face Gokulam in the next round.

Immunity is the winner

For the teams in the Relegation Stage, it could all come down to the match between Chennai City and NEROCA to condemn the club to the second division.

Sudeva Delhi and Indian Arrows have immunity from relegation and the two likely conspired to hand Chennai City (9 points) and NEROCA (8 points) to yet another loss in their campaign. 

Aizawl FC is sitting pretty with 15 points and one win could guarantee their safety. NEROCA is their next opponent as the battle of survival is truly on.

Trouble for the Robertsons

Real Kashmir’s father-son duo of David and Mason Robertson were handed a fine and a suspension of four matches for abusing the referee in “filthy vulgar languages” during their I-League game against Indian Arrows.

After all the praises showered on the duo, admittedly it is a bit disappointing to understand such behavior. However, it might just be them going to their Scottish roots and throwing in some F-words to emphasize their point. 

“The comments made by the appellant to the coach was a figure of speech which is usually a way the people of Scotland speak in order to vent their frustration,” read Mason Roberton’s statement in his appeal to the AIFF to revoke the ban.

Let’s be real, it’s not like the footballers are expected to put on a monocle and a top hat before debating the referee’s decision: “Sir, I believe there has been an error in your judgment as my foot actually touched the ball well before the said foot touched the opposition’s fibula”.

Revoke the ban and get on with the game, will you?

Pedro Manzi has outdone himself

Ever noticed a senior on the football pitch kicking about with the kids from junior school? He strolls around and occasionally tries something audacious – sometimes he manages to pull it off.

Pedro Manzi is that senior and sometimes he looks like he plays football on easy-mode.

However, he is playing for a professional club and when his team is a man down and badly needed a win to secure a spot in the top 6 ,what does he do? Lob the opposition goalkeeper from his own half.

Absolute madlad.

Two years ago he lobbed the Aizawl FC goalie close to the centre circle but this one was ridiculous.

By the way, he also went on to score another goal in the 2-0 win to seal the top six spot for Mohammedan.

The Goal Scoring Ratio

Rounds 11 & 12 saw goals galore as TRAU FC’s Khangembam Bidyashagar Singh climbed up the goal scoring charts.

The former East Bengal striker scored for the third match running, including a hattrick in the tie against Mohammedan. He is now the joint top scorer with Luka Majcen of Churchill Brothers with eight goals apiece.

The Manipuri lad started his footballing journey with TRAU in his teenage years. A successful trial with East Bengal saw the player sign for the Kolkata club in 2017. Then came the news of the club joining the ISL, which resulted in a host of players being released – Bidyashagar was one of them.

After this season’s display, it won’t be long before an ISL club comes knocking for the speedy forward. He’ll be worth every penny, if he can do this time and again.  

Also, well done to Harsh Patre, who bagged a brace for Indian Arrows. The youngster now has three goals to his name in the campaign.

Most important stat at the end of this round: the goal tally of the Indian players has overtaken the foreign signings for the first time in the season.

The overall tally after round 12 looks like this:

Foreign players – 73
Indian players – 76
Own goals – 4

…and finally

It’s International Women’s Day. So the official Twitter handle of the I-League had to get in the act. 

They posted hashtags like #ShePower and #LeagueForAll with images of the trophy presentation of the 2019/20 Indian Women’s League champions, Gokulam Kerala, at the EMS Stadium, Kozhikode.

Here’s the catch: the tournament was held in Bangalore. So either the AIFF folks did not have a single image of the other women’s teams in action or even better, they did not have pictures of the top AIFF officials when the tournament was taking place.

It’s easy to show up for a few minutes to present a trophy, but to sit through a football match involving women? No sir. We do not do that here.

One Comment

  1. scruffyrube scruffyrube 8th March 2021

    These posts are the best way to keep up on football half a world away (and often have a laugh as well). Thank you for them.

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