I-League 2023/24 – Matchweek 26 Report

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The 2023-24 I-League season has concluded, marking the end of an exciting chapter in Indian Football. Mohammedan SC emerged as champions, marking their debut league victory and adding to the glory of Kolkata, the “City of Joy”. They now stand poised to potentially join the Indian Super League, pending the fulfillment of licensing requirements. Despite losing their final league match against Delhi FC, Mohammedan SC’s earlier achievements secured their title.

The closing week witnessed an exhilarating display of football, with goal-laden matches culminating in a thrilling end to a fiercely competitive season. Churchill Brothers FC and Gokulam Kerala both secured dominant victories, each netting half a dozen goals. Sreenidi FC rediscovered their winning form, while Namdhari FC stunned Real Kashmir with an unexpected result.

Let’s look into a detailed review of the match week.

Red Machines score seven past Rajasthan

Things aren’t looking comfortable for the Jaipur team. They suffered a heavy blow in their last game against Churchill, conceding 7 goals. This marks their third consecutive game where they’ve let in at least 6 goals, a concerning trend for Pushpender Kundu’s squad. On the flip side, Churchill Brothers are on a winning streak, securing victories in their last three matches and ending their season on a high note.

Martin Chaves shone as the standout player of the match, contributing with 1 goal and 2 assists, while Lalremruata Ralte provided two assists. Louis Ogana demonstrated clinical finishing, bagging a brace and tallying 7 goals throughout the campaign, making him the top scorer for the team.

Ogana opened the scoring in the 16th minute courtesy of a precise delivery from Chaves. Richard Costa doubled the lead, followed by Ogana completing his brace early in the second half, once again with an assist from Chaves. Lalremruata then got in on the action, setting up Lamgoulen Hangshing in the 55th minute, extending the lead to 4-0.

Chaves added his name to the scoresheet in the 72nd minute with a superb finish. Ralte breached the Rajasthan defense once more, this time setting up substitute Trijoy for a goal. Abdou Karim sealed the deal in added time, concluding the game with a 7-0 victory for the Red Machines.

I-League Churchill Brothers

Churchill Brothers finished the season in 7th place with 44 points earned from 24 games. Meanwhile, Rajasthan, who were once mid-table contenders, ended up in 10th place with 25 points after the league campaign.

Gokulam stamps its victory against TRAU

Gokulam Kerala FC dealt a devastating blow to an already weakened TRAU side, sealing their season with a resounding 6-1 victory over the former champions. Malayali winger Noufal P N stole the spotlight, bagging two goals and two assists, while Serbian midfielder Nikola Stojanovic also contributed with a goal and an assist.

Gokulam dominated TRAU’s defense from the outset, finding the net four times in the first half alone. Noufal initiated the onslaught, setting up Alexis Sanchez for his 19th goal of the season, securing him the tournament’s Golden Boot. Noufal then showcased his scoring prowess with a stunning goal in the 28th minute, which he followed up with another just six minutes later. He turned provider for Tajikistan forward Kumron in the 39th minute, extending the lead to four before the break.

The avalanche of goals disrupted TRAU’s rhythm entirely, although they managed to salvage some pride with a penalty converted by Issahak Nuhu Seidu in the 61st minute. However, it was too little, too late for TRAU, who suffered two more blows in added time of the second half, with Matija Babovic and Nikola Stojanovic both finding the back of the net to seal a decisive 6-1 victory for Gokulam.

I-League Gokulam Kerala FC

Gokulam Kerala’s victory cemented their third position in the table, having accumulated 42 points from 24 games. This places them 1 point ahead of Inter Kashi FC, who occupy the fourth spot. On the other hand, TRAU, who had already been relegated, ended the season in last place with 13 points and a dismal goal difference of -38.

Namdhari send Real Kashmir tumbling off the cliff

It was a forgettable day for the Snow Leopards as they suffered an ambush by I-League newcomers Namdhari FC on their home turf. Real Kashmir, once on the brink of clinching the title, lost their grip along the way, culminating in a devastating end to their highly anticipated campaign, which had begun brightly. Despite a strong turnout, the yellow-clad team was stunned by a remarkable goal from Ghanaian midfielder Stephen Acquah, who unleashed a long-range shot from 40 yards out, tearing through the Real Kashmir net in the 20th minute. Matters worsened as they conceded a penalty in the 24th minute, converted by Imanol Arana Sadaba, further extending Namdhari FC’s lead.

The pattern persisted in the second half, with Namdhari’s long balls exposing Real Kashmir’s defense effortlessly, and the Punjab-based team clinically capitalizing on their chances. They added two more goals to their tally, courtesy of Manvir Singh, who completed a brace in the 60th and 90th minutes, respectively. While the Snow Leopards managed to find a consolation goal through Lalramdinsanga Ralte, the day ultimately belonged to Namdhari FC, casting a shadow over Real Kashmir’s performance.

I-League Namdhari FC

Namdhari’s victory secured their position in 9th on the table, boasting 27 points. Meanwhile, Real Kashmir concludes the season in 5th place, having accumulated 40 points, trailing behind Inter Kashi by just one point.

Sreenidi wrap up impressive I-League campaign

Sreenidi Deccan wrapped up their I-League campaign impressively with a 3-2 victory over a struggling Shillong Lajong side. Despite securing the runners-up spot in the league, the Deccan Warriors remained focused. They took an early lead in the 4th minute when Lalromawia delivered a precise pass to Brazilian striker William Alves, who notched his 9th goal of the season. Just 12 minutes later, William turned provider, setting up Rosenberg for another goal.

In the second half, Shillong intensified their efforts, and it paid off in the first minute as Phrangki Buam scored a swift goal. However, Sreenidi maintained their composure, extending their lead to 3-1 with David Castaneda converting a penalty in the 84th minute. Buam pulled one back for Shillong, ending the game 3-2 in favor of Sreenidi Deccan.

I-League Sreenidhi Deccan FC

Sreenidi extended their unbeaten streak to seven games with a win, amassing 48 points from 24 matches and securing the runner-up spot in the campaign. Conversely, Shillong ended their league season in 8th place with 31 points after going winless in their last six matches.

History rewritten as Mohammedan lifts title despite loss

Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan bore witness to a significant moment in the 133-year history of Mohammedan Sporting Club as they secured promotion to the Indian Super League, pending fulfillment of licensing criteria. This achievement came despite a loss against Delhi FC in their final league match. Delhi FC showed no intention of allowing Mohammedan to celebrate their success, swiftly taking the lead in the 7th minute with a finely executed corner from Alisher Kholmurodov, silencing the crowd.

Mohammedan made several attempts on goal but lacked the precision of Yan Law’s side. Delhi extended their lead in the 31st minute through 18-year-old Gwgwmsar Goyary, who bypassed the home side’s defense with remarkable speed and finesse. The first half concluded with Delhi holding a comfortable two-goal advantage.

The match didn’t unfold as planned for Mohammedan, as Delhi’s super sub Sergio Barboza scored in added time, securing his first goal of the game and bringing Delhi’s tally to three. With this goal, Sergio ascended to third place in the league’s scoring chart. Mohammedan managed to salvage some pride with Mirjalol Kasimov’s goal just a minute later, offering some relief to the team and their supporters.

I-League Delhi Mohammedan

Delhi FC, on a four-game winning streak, concluded their season in style by defeating the champions. Mohammedan secured a substantial 52 points with a +22 goal difference, showcasing their dominance in the league.


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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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