The fourth edition of the I-League finally kicked-off with all 14 teams in action on match day one which was played yesterday and today (December 3 & 4) across the country.
And most of the matches went as per script though it is interesting to note the number of late goals which where scored across the games to often draw matches or also win some. The only real surprise was that HAL won away to JCT in Gurgaon, while some eyebrowse would have been raised in Salgaocar's 3-0 away win against Viva Kerala. This meant that Salgaocar are top of the I-League after round one, while Viva Kerala are bottom of the league, but there are still 25 rounds to play.
Round 1 Match by Match Short Review
03-Dec-2010: Pune FC 1-1 (0-1) Mohun Bagan AC (in Pune)
Like last season Pune FC opened their I-League campaign with a draw. This time they needed a late goal from Izumi Arata which gave PFC a point, while Snehasish Chakraborty had given Mohun Bagan the lead in the first half.
03-Dec-2010: Chirag United SC 2-1 (2-1) AIFF XI (in Kolkata)
All three goals came in the first session. Nigerian Elijah Obagbemiro Junior gave Chirag United an early lead, which was neutralised by a Lalrindika Ralte strike before Junior again struck to give the men in violett a 2-1 lead. No more goals would be scored and the Kolkata side would beat the young AIFF XI in their first-ever I-League game.
03-Dec-2010: JCT 0-1 (0-1) HAL, Bangalore (in Gurgaon)
JCT had to shift their home game to Gurgaon as the stadium in Ludhiana is hosting the Punjab Games. And this didn't help the men from Phagwara as promoted HAL went ahead through a first half strike from seasoned Xavier Vijayakumar, which would give the Garden City boys their first three points.
03-Dec-2010: Mumbai FC 2-1 (0-0) Air India (in Kolhapur, Maharashtra)
A large crowd in Kolhapur saw a Mumbai derby away from home as Mumbai FC won 2-1 against Air India. The Airmen were initially the better of the two sides and deservingly took the lead through a Yusuf Ibrahim strike in the 63rd minute, but in the next five minutes Mumbai FC would turn the score around. First Ezeh Nna Henry equalised in the 65th minute and then Nicholas Rodrigues scored the winner for MFC in the 68th minute.
03-Dec-2010: Viva Kerala 0-3 (0-2) Salgaocar SC (in Kannur, Kerala)
Kannur's Jawahar Municipal Stadium hosted its first-ever I-League match and local side Viva Kerala went into the game with high expectations, but Salgaocar SC brought them crashing down to earth. Two goals from Japanese midfielder Ryuji Sueoka and another goal from Anthony Barbosa gave Salgaocar a 3-0 away win and they are top of the league afetr round one.
04-Dec-2010: Churchill Brothers SC 0-0 (1-1) Dempo SC (in Margao, Goa)
An opening round Goan derby between defending champions Dempo and their predessors Churchill Brothers always is a treat to watch. And this derby wasn't any exception though action in the first session was mainly confined to the midfield. Things changed after the break and Dempo took the lead through a strike from substitute Clifton Gonsalves, but Churchill Brothers have a talisman in captain Odafe Onyeka Okolie who bailed them out once more with a late equaliser.
04-Dec-2010: East Bengal Club 1-0 (0-0) ONGC (in Kolkata)
Federation Cup champions East Bengal made a successful start to their I-League campaign with a 1-0 win against newcomers ONGC from Mumbai. Australian Tolgey Ozbey scored a late winner for the red-and-gold to keep the three points in Kolkata though the Oilmen played a good first I-League match, but quality and experience prevailed in the end.
Click here for the 4th I-League 2010/11 - League Table & Fixtures .