It looks like an overdose of teams from Kolkata and the North East, but that’s the way it is with five of the six teams in the fray in the Second Division I-League double leg round-robin final round league that kicks off at the Bangalore Football Stadium here from Saturday.
Off the six, Mumbai Tigers, Mumbai stands between three Kolkata teams - Mohammedan Sporting, Bhawanipore FC and Southern Samity - and the North Eastern sides: Langsing FC andRangdajied United FC, Shillong. Two top finishers at the end of the two legs will figure in the Elite I-League next season.
The group toppers - Mohammedan Sporting from Group ‘A’ (played at Singrauli, MP), Langsing FC from Group ‘B’ (played at Indore) and Southern Samity from Group ‘C’ (played at this same venue) - all boast of an undefeated streak in their respective group fixtures. But barring the once reputed Sporting side, the rest seemed to crack under pressure.
Mumbai Tigers looked a tough nut until coach Bimal Ghosh decided to rest his key players for most of the match against Southern Samity in Group ‘C’ at Bangalore. There was a marked difference in its play once Mohammed Rafi and N.P. Pradeep took the field around the 70th minute which also saw it equalise with a peach of a move only to concede a late winner for its only defeat in the eight-team league. But then the Tigers will have to be on the prowl if they have to make the elite grade. Tigers finished on par with NRB Vasco SC on points but squeaked through on both head to head clash and goal difference.
Langsing FC (with six wins and two draws) and Shillong’s Rangdajied United FC (six wins, two defeats) boast of some impressive players, though much is yet to be heard of them.