One day after Mahindra United ended with a bang, Sporting Clube went down with one. The Goa club though seemed to be desperately hoping that relegation would be shelved this season.
Lajong FC, the league’s first representative from the Northeast, too were relegated, having lost a must-win match 1-3 to Salgaocar. Team boss Larsing Ming Saywan told HT that “it’s a huge setback, for Indian football too because we had extended the territory of the league.”
Surviving the drop was Mumbai FC, who beat a surprisingly listless Mohun Bagan 2-0 at home to end on 29 points. Air India were thumped 1-5 by Churchill Brothers who edged past Pune FC to finish second. Churchill Brothers’ skipper Okolie Odafa ended highest scorer again, with 22 goals.
Learning experience: Larsing
Lajong, their boss said, enjoyed the experience of the I-League but paid for their inexperience. “I hadn’t watched an I-League match before and most of my players had no idea what competition at this level is about. It’s only in the aftermath that we realised how much we missed a quality foreign striker,” Sawyan said.