I-League 2023/24 – Matchweek 24 Report

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The unpredictable nature of matches in the I-League has led to a sudden surge in excitement among fans just when the league reaches its final weeks. Sreenidi and Neroca have made a stylish comeback, turning the scenario on its head. Aizawl failed to surpass Namdhari, while Churchill secured a commanding victory, among other noteworthy events. Let’s delve into the highlights of the last round of matches.

Hat-trick hero Barboza

The Brazilian winger, Sergio Barboza, once again displayed remarkable individual prowess, driving Delhi to a resounding 3-1 victory over Shillong Lajong. Shillong is currently enduring a four-game winless streak following an impressive series of matches, while Delhi is enjoying a three-game unbeaten run. Barboza, who entered the match as a substitute in the 54th minute, dramatically altered the course of the game by scoring three goals: a penalty in the 65th minute, followed by two more in the 75th and 93rd minutes, securing three crucial points for Delhi.

I-League MW24 Delhi

Shillong Lajong secured a consolation goal from Allen Lyngdoh in the 95th minute, marking his return to action after a month-long absence. However, the victory doesn’t alter the league table standings significantly. Delhi remains in 7th place with 29 points, trailing Shillong, who holds onto 6th place with 31 points. Looking ahead, Shillong Lajong faces tough matchups against Mohammedan and Sreenidi in the final rounds, while Delhi prepares for challenges against Mohammedan and Rajasthan United FC.

Real Kashmir stamps their authority

The Kashmir team, led by Ishfaq Ahmed, has been outstanding in this season’s I-League. They’ve shown resilience in defense and sharpness in attack. Their recent victory against Neroca FC solidifies their strength. With this win, they extend their unbeaten streak to 9 games, breaking a series of 4 draws. Unfortunately for Neroca, they failed to rise from the relegation zone, confirming their exit from the I-League next season.

I-League MW24Real Kashmir

The Snow Leopards took the lead as Gnohere Krizo broke through Neroca’s defense, receiving a long ball and smoothly placing it past the goalkeeper in the 35th minute. This pattern repeated later in the game, with Hyder Yousuf elegantly side-volleying a long ball from Shaher Shaheen just before halftime. In the second half, Shaheen capitalized on a corner kick from Jeremy Laldinpuia, heading it into the corner of the net at the 67th minute to secure the victory.

This win propels Real Kashmir to 3rd place, surpassing Inter Kashi with 40 points. They now face challenges from TRAU and Namdhari. Conversely, Neroca must confront Gokulam and Aizawl in their remaining matches.

End-to-end fight between Kashi and Mohammedan ends in a draw

The expectations didn’t go in vain as the much-awaited clash between Mohammedan and Inter Kashi displayed enthralling football, with end-to-end action and heavy contest culminating in a draw. Both teams fought hard, but Inter Kashi seemed one step ahead for much of the game. Mohammedan opened the scoring in the 8th minute through Alexis Gomez, with a low shot deflected past Arindam.

Inter Kashi was determined not to concede, but Padam Chettri stood firm in goal, parrying away Inter Kashi’s valiant efforts. There were multiple goal-line clearances, including Zodingliana’s incredible positioning, and the ball hitting the woodwork was a common sight throughout the game. The equalizer came from Mario Barco, who gracefully placed a delivery from Lamela on the left wing in the 83rd minute. Inter Kashi desperately sought the winner, but Mohammedan held their ground to secure the draw.

I-League MW24 MDSC Inter Kashi

The draw, rather than a loss, secured the Black Panthers’ position at the top with 49 points. They now only require 1 more point from their last two games to secure the trophy and promotion to the ISL. On the contrary, Inter Kashi lost their hold on 3rd place to Real Kashmir, as both teams have 40 points, but Real Kashmir edges ahead in terms of goal difference.

The big hunters Sreenidi

The City of Pearls witnessed a thrilling display of football as a half dozen goals were scored by the team led by Portuguese tactician Carlos Vaz Pinto against a weakened Rajasthan United side. Despite their depleted lineup, Rajasthan was fortunate to escape with only a 6-1 defeat. Sreenidi Deccan had their sights set on victory and achieved it in style. Brazilian striker William De Oliviera and Lalromawia each scored twice, while Rilwan Hassan and Lalnuntluanga Bawitlung added solitary goals, sealing the deal for Sreenidi.

I-League MW24 Sreenidhi

Rajasthan scored a solitary consolation goal credited to Pangambam Naoba Meitei in the 74th minute. The victory has widened Sreenidi’s lead in the 2nd position to 4 points over the trailing team and is now 5 points behind Mohammedan. Sreenidi will face Inter Kashi and Shillong in their final two rounds. Following the defeat, Rajasthan has descended to the 10th position in the table with 25 points and will now confront Delhi and Churchill in their upcoming matches.

Namdhari holds off Aizawl

After an exceptional victory against Churchill Brothers, Aizawl fell short against Namdhari FC in their home stadium, playing out a 1-1 draw. Neither team possessed enough firepower to secure three points.

Aizawl, fielding an all-Indian squad, took the lead through 21-year-old winger R Ramdinthara, who scored his third goal of the season in the 40th minute. Spanish striker Ivan Garrido surprised late to equalize, concluding the game in a draw. Aizawl remains in 9th position in the table with 25 points, while Namdhari avoided relegation thanks to recent wins.

I-League MW24 Namdhari Aizawl

Churchill scripts a fine win

Churchill Brothers discovered their winning formula against the fatigued TRAU side following a shocking 4-0 defeat to Aizawl the previous week. The game unfolded rapidly, with the Red Machines delivering an early blow in the 1st minute itself, courtesy of Stendly Teotonio Fernandes who scored right after kick-off seemingly out of nowhere. TRAU crumbled from that point onwards, with despair reigning as they conceded an own goal just before half-time, credited to Kongbrailatpam Manjit Sharma, leaving Churchill with a comfortable two-goal cushion at halftime. The second half proved uneventful, lacking any notable action, and the game concluded with a 2-0 victory for the Goan team.

Read More: I-League MatchWeek 22 Review

I-League MW24 Mohammedan SC

The win propelled Churchill to one place above the table, collecting 27 points in 22 games. Aizawl, with 25 points from one fewer match, trails closely behind. The upcoming clash between these two teams in the next round could determine their positions in the table. Meanwhile, TRAU sits at the bottom of the table with 10 points.

Sreenidi bottles it

Sreenidi once again missed their opportunity to overcome the leading Mohammedan side at the top of the table, settling for a draw against relegation-threatened Neroca. The team from Telangana lacked the hunger and desire to finish the game, despite Neroca being reduced to ten men just before halftime. The match was intense, with both teams creating chances throughout. However, none of these chances resulted in goals, with Sreenidi dominating possession while Neroca defended with a low block.

The persistence of both teams in front of goal proved futile until Neroca unexpectedly took the lead with a penalty converted by Rohit Meetei in the 70th minute. Carlos Vaz Pinto made tactical changes to secure the three points, and fate offered Sreenidi an opportunity to equalize, which they did through a penalty scored by David Castaneda in the 82nd minute. However, Sreenidi squandered further opportunities in the dying minutes of the game, failing to secure the victory.

I-League MW24 Sreenidhi

The draw has diminished Sreenidi’s title hopes, as they now trail by 5 points behind Mohammedan, who have amassed 49 points, just 1 point shy of clinching the title and securing promotion.


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Rejin T Jays
Rejin T Jayshttps://iftwc.com/author/rejintjays/
Kerala Blasters Supporter💛 and Indian Football Fan💙

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