2014-15 I-League Round 12?: So... we're back to domestic football!
So ya, I am not sure what happened to Round 10 and 11. According to the I-League website, those matches will be played in May and Round 12 is this weekend... I really don't understand the AIFF sometimes but okay, I guess.
Anyway, we are back to the I-League. After watching a new-look India defeat Nepal to advance to the second round of FIFA World Cup/AFC Asian Cup qualification the Indian football fans will return to watching the domestic league (as well as our under-23s as they battle it out to qualify for the AFC U-23 Championship, good luck to the boys). It feels great to be back to the league... to see which talents can rise up and which players can disappoint... nothing better than that.
So we begin the round with a two early evening matches on Saturday. East Bengal will host Sporting Clube de Goa while Royal Wahingdoh will host Bharat FC. New East Bengal boss Eelco Schattorie will be hoping to reset his team after a not so fruitful start to his tenure as head coach of the Red and Gold. Sporting Goa meanwhile will probably feel good after the league break. They will be able to unleash top I-League striker, Odafe Onyeka Okolie for the first time and will probably be relying on him to get goals. Royal Wahingdoh meanwhile will be hoping to continue their surprising form this season at home while Bharat FC will be hoping to start some good form. The direct-entry club will be looking to new foreign signing Omar Jarun for some inspiration as they look to re-start their season and maybe break into mid-table.
Saturday will end with Salgaocar hosting defending I-League champions Bengaluru FC. Despite the break in league play, Bengaluru FC were still busy as they had to deal with two AFC Cup matches. The Bangalore side were confidently beaten in their first match away in Indonesia but this past week saw them take the victory against Warriors of Singapore. Salgaocar meanwhile have been quite busy during the break so who knows what Derrick Pereira has been planning.
Sunday will see the conclusion of the round. Mohun Bagan vs. Dempo will be the first match of the day. Dempo will begin life under new head coach Trevor Morgan. This will be the second time this month that both clubs have faced each other as last round both clubs took to the field in Goa and played out a 1-1 draw.
We will then end the round with the Maha Derby! Mumbai FC vs. Pune FC. Mumbai have turned the Cooperage Ground into a fortress but Pune have been consistently good through-out the season. This derby is not a very hostile one but does not take away from the fact that it is a derby anyway.
So there we have it... the I-League is back this weekend and depending on results we could see some changes occur in the table. Who shall be the leaders? Can Mohun Bagan continue their unbeaten run? Will Sporting Goa still be last place? Lets find out.
Saturday, 21 March 2015:
- East Bengal vs. Sporting Goa (Salt Lake Stadium; 16:30).
- Royal Wahingdoh vs. Bharat FC (Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium; 16:30).
- Salgaocar vs. Benagluru FC (Fatorda Stadium; 19:00).
Sunday, 22 March 2015:
- Mohun Bagan vs. Dempo (Salt Lake Stadium; 16:30).
- Mumbai FC vs. Pune FC (Cooperage Ground; 19:00).
Bye: Shillong Lajong.