Twelve Rounds into the I-League, the surprise package of the season Sporting Clube de Goa are sitting pretty in the top of the table in the I-League. The club has been revolution this season under the magician Oscar Bruzon.
The first leg of the 2012-13 I-League seasons was just about to finish and Sporting Clube de Goa were tagged as hot favorites to get relegated. The Goan club was in complete disarray under Ekendra Singh. There was no big star in the team and no one even gave them a chance to survive in the league. Then came the person who exactly an year later has transformed Sporting into a team which all other clubs fear to play against. This man is none other than their head coach Oscar Bruzon. Sporting Clube de Goa after changing the coach has undergone a revolution. The club which was languishing at the bottom of the table finished at a respectable position in the 2012-13 I-League seasons. The turnaround Sporting showed certainly helped them to earn a lot of respect from the fans. But no one could have imagined what would follow next year. Goa which is known to be dominated by clubs like Dempo SC, Churchill Brothers SC and Salgaocar FC but this season has seen the rise of Sporting Club de Goa who have already won the Airtel Goa Pro League.
Sporting Clube de Goa is sitting pretty it the top half of the table at the end of round 12. The season is long but Sporting Clube de Goa already has added silverware this season by winning the Goa Pro League. The Goa Pro League is one of the most difficult state leagues in India with presence of major I-League clubs such as Dempo and Churchill Brothers. The credit for the rise of Sporting Clube de Goa has to go to their Head Coach Oscar Bruzon who has revolutionized this club. The Spaniard win his first full season with the club has made a huge improvement in the youngsters of Sporting Clube de Goa. The Spaniard with his unique way of training session and with shrewd tactics helped Sporting Clube de Goa win the Goa Pro League.
Oscar Bruzon first made some crucial addition to the club with the signings of two Spanish players, defender Gonazalo Neila and midfielder Arturo Garcia. He further went on to sign the Liberian-Australian striker Boima Karpeh. Apart from the signing these players club signed a couple of youngsters from the SESA Football Academy and Paillan Arrows.
Ravi Kumar former Paillan Arrow’s goalkeeper has filled the shoes of Bruno Colaco perfectly. The young custodian has lived up to the expectation of the club and given some solid performances this season. His performances have been consistent and club hardly felt a need to replace him with the 2nd choice Goalkeeper.
Sporting Clube de Goa has a unique style of play, which differ from the rest of the club in the I-League. They prefer keeping the ball possession and passing the ball between themselves. For such kind of game you need a strong defense who not only intercept and stop rival attacks but helps in attacking half of the game. Sporting Clube de Goa’ s defense marshaled by Captain Mathew Gonsalves and Gonzalo Neila has done exceptionally well. They have played the ball out of the defense pretty well. The youngsters such as Keenan Almeida, Joyner Lourenco and Deepak Devrani has also played their bit when needed. The defense looked good and that has helped the team to get some positive results.
Sporting Clube de Goa play compact football and the players keep on rotating the possession. This kind of football needs lot of understanding among the players. When you look at Sporting Clube de Goa midfield passing the ball you can make out how much hard work they have put in it. The midfield of the team has helped each other well and there is no one man to point out who you would call a leader. Every player has shown great composure and leadership quality in the midfield. Spanish midfielder Arturo Garcia in his debut season with the club has been amazing. His vision and play making ability has helped the team immensely. Nigerian Midfielder Ogba Kalu is continuing his good work for the club. The young players such Pratesh Shirodkar, Jovel Martins, Rowlin Borges, Mauvin Borges and Cajetan Fernandes showed their class even in the absence of Arturo Garcia and Ogba Kalu against East Bengal.
Boima Karpeh can be called as the signing of the season for the flaming Orange. The Striker has played a stellar role in the success of the club so far. He has been a nemesis for rival defence and the club will expect him to continue doing his good work. Victorino Fernandes has improved immensely. The youngster now understands his role in the team and has realized his potential. His pace and dribbling ability is an asset for the team. Sometimes playing as lone striker Victorino has done exceptionally well in stretching the opponents defence.
Sporting Clube de Goa is a perfect example how a young team with hard work can give the big spending clubs a run for their money. Oscar Bruzon has to be given the credit for this fast improving team. With the pace they are improving they could surprise many by winning I-League 2013-14. Their 1-0 victory over Salgaocar FC in round 12 showed how dangerous the Flaming Orange can be. Sporting Clube de Goa’ s only worry is the conversion rate upfront; they are creating lots of chances but failing to convert them. Even against Salgaocar FC where they dominated the match they could have scored a few more goals but some poor finishing and woodwork denied them those goals.
Opening match of the Round 12 saw a depleted Dempo SC hold Mohammedan Sporting. The young Dempo side in the absence of some key players and coach Arthur Papas gave a stellar performance. The striker duo of Mohammedan Sporting Tolgay Ozbey and Josimar failed to penetrate Dempo defence. Both teams had chances to earn full points but some poor finishing did not help their cause.
Rangdajiad United FC caused major upset by beating Mohun Bagan in an away match. Inclusion of IMG-R players has raised the level of the team. Young striker Manandeep Singh scored opening goal while team captain Lyngdoh scored the second goal for the Shillong based club. Mohun Bagan star striker Odafa Okolie was disappointing once again as the striker failed to capitalize on the opportunities created by the midfield.
Bengaluru FC kept their home record intact as they notched up one more victory in Bengaluru. Sunil Chettri’ s brace helped the steelman earn well deserved three points and move up the table. The 2-1 victory over Shillong Lajong FC has helped Bengaluru FC move up the table with 21 points and will go in the next round as league leader.
Pune FC failed to win one more match but this time at home. They were kept to 1-1 draw by United SC. Nikhil Kadam put Pune FC ahead but United SC substitute Asif equalized within a few minutes. With this draw Pune FC has moved up to the second position with 19 points while United SC is in 5th place.
Mumbai FC caused a one more upset in the round as they beat East Bengal 3-2 in the rather drab match. The match was played at a slow pace and goals that both the team conceded is rather because of defensive errors. Comeback man Yakubu scored the opening goal for the Mumbai FC. His performance is the reason of the win for the Mumbai FC. The early title favorites East Bengal will have to regroup and give some good performances now. They are at the 9th place and title has started to drift from their hand.