The dust has now settled over the I-league as a lot of teams have now started to show their true colors. We have seen some big names in the Indian football struggle to hoard their first triumph this season, foreign players making their mark and a few surprises in the league standings so far. Let’s take a look at top five things to watch out before the flurry of back to back rounds in I-League starting from high flying Bengaluru FC hosting Dempo at the Bangalore Football Stadium come Wednesday.
Red Lizards Look To Capitalize :
The Brit has been a revelation for the Red Lizards so far this season. Surprisingly, the defender has been nothing less than a driving force for the Pune club assisting goals (2 against Mohun Bagan) as well as well scoring them. It was his crucial goal against defending champions in the last round which helped the Maharashtra side bag all three points. The former Portsmouth youth product poses an aerial threat and is not shy of taking up set pieces from in and around the box. His free kick pierced the Churchill wall and ended up in the back of the net. He would be the man to mark for Rangdajied United players as they travel to Balewadi on 27th.
Will John Johnson Don The Scoring Boots Again?:
Already mentioned above, round six will be kicked off at the Bengaluru Stadium on Wednesday as the table topping hosts welcome a rejuvenated Dempo side. Apart from regular battles on the pitch, the tall lanky defender would be a player to mark as well as watch out for the fans. John Johnson has so far scored three goals from his first four caps. Not only John has been instrumental in defense for the Karnataka side, with his towering presence at the back, he has also made amends whenever he has got the chance of play making as he moves forward. His ball spreading prowess has been one of most important part of the game till now. Dempo obviously would plan to counter both sides of his game, if they come home with any points from this fixture. Dempo after their first win of the season would be raring to go and register another victory to crawl back into the top half of the table.
Odafa Okolie Returns?:
After a below average start to the season, Mohun Bagan are looking forward to the return of their influential captain – Odafa. The Kolkata club is still looking for that first victory of the season, which hopefully will kick start their derailed season. The team has failed to capitalize on the opportunities in front of the goal- with Kenyan Eric Muranda being the key culprit. The last match at home against Sporting Club saw Mohun Bagan take a handful of shots at goal, out of which only one was slotted home. The team, especially the front line of Sabeeth and Eric, has been guilty of muffing up a lot of chances lately, and the fans are now anxious. The return of Odafa will restore trust and stability to the squad. The news of him making his debut this season in the league against league leaders Salgaocar has caught fire and he is likely to be in the team sheet on Wednesday. The Mariners will welcome Salgaocar at home.
Syed Nabi To Return To The League With Black Panthers:
Without a doubt, Syed Nabi is among the best and one of the most versatile players in the current crop of Indian players. His absence a this year’s league would now be no longer troubling the fans as it is widely rumored that he has agreed terms with Kolkata giants Mohammedan Sporting. Nabi has already proved himself in the national colors and is known for his speed, ball floating ability and tireless running. His addition to the Black Panthers squad has added teeth to a somewhat struggling Md. Sporting side, who garnered their first win in the last round against I-league debutants Rangdajied United FC. Nabi brings a lot of experience to the table as the India international has donned the blue tigers’ jersey 61 times and has hit the back of the net seven times.
Sanjdar Ahmadi and Mumbai FC Look For That Illusive First Home Win
The Afghani striker has moved to the coastal side in the transfer season, and has witnessed the best Mumbai FC start to an Indian football season. Mumbai slipped to the sixth spot in the league after their last round’s loss against Salagaocar. Coach and former player Khalid Jamil has shown trust in his striking pair upfront- Ahmadi and Essien. Ahmadi is still finding his feet in Indian circuit as he was shrewdly roped in by Mumbai FC after his instrumental performances in SAFF Cup. Visiting Shillong side are coming off a 1-1 draw against United Sports club and are positioned at fourth in the table. A maiden home win will see Mumbai jump into the podium places .
I-League Round-6 fixtures
Bengaluru FC V Dempo SC, October 23, 3.30 PM
Mohun Bagan V Salgaocar SC, October 23, 5.30 PM
Shillong Lajong FC V Mumbai FC, October 23, 7.00 PM
Sporting Club De Goa V Rangdajied United FC , October 24, 3.30 PM
Mohemmadan SC V United Sports Club, October 24, 5.00 PM