After a high-octane Indian Super League which concluded a few weeks ago, Indian football fans will be treated to yet another exhibition of top-quality football from all parts of the country. The 2016 edition of the Hero I-League gets underway tomorrow with defending champions Mohun Bagan taking on new entrants Aizawl FC. The opening day will also see last year’s runners-up Bengaluru FC in action as they play Salgaocar FC later in the evening.
Flashback 2015: Glory for Mohun Bagan, Bengaluru too close yet too far
The Hero I-League 2015 was one of the most closely contested seasons in the glorious history of the tournament. A league which showcased raw Indian talent along with an array of International players in each side, we witnessed some breathtaking performances over a duration of four months. Bengaluru FC managed to hold on to the top spot for most part of the league but were later jolted by Mohun Bagan who dethroned the 2014 champions. The final match of the I-League 2015 was played between these two teams and Bagan, who just had to draw the game, managed to get a 1-1 result. Bello Rasaq delivered a late equalizer to dash Bengaluru’s title hopes and bring the trophy home.
DSK Shivajians replace Pune FC and Bharat FC, Aizawl join the I-League bandwagon:
The 2015 season of the I-League also witnessed the relegation of Goa-based club Dempo SC to the 2nd division. They have been replaced by Aizawl FC who defeated Chanmari 4-2 earlier in May in order to receive a promotion to the first division. On January 5, DSK Shivajians announced themselves as the ninth I-League team and will be representing Pune. The announcement was made following the withdrawal of Pune FC and Bharat FC from the I-League. Another club, Royal Wahingdoh also made their way out of the league in the month of November.
Here is a list of teams contesting in the 2016 season of the Hero I-League:
|Aizawl FC||Aizawl, Mizoram||Rajiv Gandhi stadium|
|Bengaluru FC||Bengaluru, Karnataka||Shree Kanteerava Stadium|
|DSK Shivajians||Pune, Maharashtra||Shree Shivchhatrapati Sports Complex, Balewadi|
|East Bengal||Kolkata, West Bengal||Salt Lake Stadium|
|Mohun Bagan||Kolkata, West Bengal||Salt Lake Stadium, Barasat Stadium|
|Mumbai FC||Mumbai, Maharashtra||Cooperage Ground|
|Salgaocar FC||Goa||Tilak Maidan Stadium, Vasco da Gama|
|Shillong Lajong FC||Shillong, Meghalaya||Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium|
|Sporting Clube de Goa||Goa||Fatorda Stadium|