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The Holi Roundup: Aizawl goes three points clear on top, Bagan-Bengaluru fizzles into a draw

Arijit Mukherjee  |  Bengaluru FC  |  1 Year Ago

On this Holi weekend, the festival of colours was at its full swing and so was the colourful paraphernalia of Indian club football. What a great round of exhilarating football to progress towards the season settlement! 

 

It all started with DSK trouncing the arch-rivals Mumbai in the “Maha Derby”. Santosh Kashyap’s Mumbai has been under a systematic disintegration, with each passing week the hiding they received at the hand of Roger’s men just indicates the point that the draw against MohunBagan in the previous round was a flash in the pan for the Mumbai outfit. The team is mired in controversy with the manager questioning everyone except himself right from the players, even “The Yellow Brigade” who’ve perceived with the club through their thick and thin, despite the fact that Mumbai has only been a middle run team for the best part of their history. 

 

On the other hand, DSK is celebrating their enigmatic run on the field, though being brilliant in one round and awful in the next.  It was an even one for them in this round with complete domination throughout the 90 minutes.

 

The “Leicester City” of Indian football Aizawl travelled all the way to Ludhiana, only to play levels with the Punjabis after dominating for a good 70 minutes of the game. Minerva despite their current standing in the table is thriving to impress everyone with their perseverance day in and day out and able to pacify the teams they always looked up to. Khalid Jamil’s men despite a Not-so-impressive game can start dreaming of the title, only with a pill of “contraceptive” before the away matches. Well the fans back in Aizawl have already began celebrating their unprecedented success in the league history, however if we believe Jamil, “Aizawl is far from the title”. Well, we can surely understand his need to maintain generosity!!

 

 

The next one began with extreme speculations from both ends when Bengaluru took on the mariners at home hoping to salvage some of their long lost pride this season, maintaining the winning run. Mohun Bagan on the other hand needed to get hold of the Defending champions to keep their title hopes alive. Bagan in my view had a great game considering the past few performances. MohunBagan would blame their misfortune and profligacy in front of goal and the collective off form of their mighty strike force that they left the Blue Fortress with only one point and not three even though they played with 10 men. The referee SriKrishna played a considerable part in making sure the match ended goalless as he rejected a valid goal scored by Katsumi due to hand ball which was highly contentious and then the the sending off Subashish was again a highly debatable decision. Well, I just wonder if the refereeing has been the Clatterberg-Ferguson level in India already. 

 

This was the second consecutive match in which Mohun Bagan has been denied a fair goal and both match ended in draws. Not to forget the scuffles… 

 

The winning spree of the resurgent Goan giant Churchill Brothers came to a halt in this round when Shillong Lajong travelled to Goa to hold them to a goalless stalemate. Thangboi Singto’s side has been quite a revelation especially when he persisted with his U-22 talent more than the seniors or the foreigners. He’s not only nurturing the local talent but has reached the level even he didn’t set for himself when the season commenced. 

 

Derrick Pereira’s team has been quite a sensation of late, especially after conquering the two giants—Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. Derrick has finally got the team back to the winning mentality and understanding among the players. It’s a lovely sight to behold considering how badly fans had been mocking the club players as they went deeper into the relegation trap. What a turnaround it has all been engineered by the wily old fox from Goa.

 

The last match of the round sprung the mother of all upsets and got the league on an even keel before we go to an international break for two weeks. What a match it was at Chennai as they pulled out quite a Houdini act against the mighty Red and Gold brigade. As I had mentioned in my earlier Postmortems, it can be a case of a team peaking too early and I guess I have jinxed the Red and Golds. East Bengal has faltered big time in the recent rounds and they continued to do that in Chennai committing hara-kiri to lose to an innocuous looking Chennai outfit who just had a better belly to fight. Morgan has always been a disappointing coach as per me with his typical and obsolete kick and run football and it is coming to the fore at the business end of the league. Chennai on the other hand gave their all though they have been mired in controversies recently and got a deserving three points with a last gasp winner.

 

East Bengal on the other hand like numerous time before in the I League have started behaving like prodigal sons and losing the plot yet again at the business end. The club is slowly turning them into perennial bridesmaids who never somehow get to be the bride.

 

What an interesting dosage of football we had before we go on a long break for the International FIFA calendar.

 

The title race is on the hilt with three teams still in the fray though East Bengal looks to be falling apart, whereas MohunBagan has not been overtly impressive as well with a defeat and two consecutive draws in the last three rounds and slipping as well. Aizawl has been solid till now and looks to be inching closer to a historic triumph but behold it is the I League and more twists and turns and shocking results are waiting to happen when the league resumes on the 1st of April. Tel then keeps on supporting Indian Football and the I League!!

 

 






 

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