I-League: Indian Arrows aims to end campaign on a high

The youngsters are coming into the game on the back of a 0-3 defeat which coincidentally was their heaviest defeat of the campaign, as no team had beaten them by more than two goals until that point.

There is no relegation for Indian Arrows, the developmental side of the All India Football Federation (AIFF).   -  Twitter

Indian Arrows would look to finish its I-League campaign on a high when it take on heavyweight Mohun Bagan at the Tilak Maidan here on Tuesday.

The youngsters are coming into the game on the back of a 0-3 defeat which coincidentally was their heaviest defeat of the campaign, as no team had beaten them by more than two goals until that point.

On the other hand, Mohun Bagan is lying at the fourth spot on the table with 24 points from 15 matches. However, the general impression is that these under-18 players have punched above their weight, especially with other teams fielding quality foreign players. There is no relegation for Indian Arrows, the developmental side of the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

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“When I analyse the season, I am very satisfied with the performance of the players of the Indian Arrows. Fifteen points with a team with average age of 16.9 is very unique. I never knew a team of 16 years old in the professional league who made 15 points and fight with the same level as the other teams and always fighting for victory,” Indian Arrows coach Luis Norton De Matos said.

However, it would look to put in a strong performance against the 2014-15 I-League winner, which currently sits fourth in the table. The first leg fixture in December ended in a 1-1 draw, when the Kolkata giant failed to beat a 10-man Indian Arrows back in its backyard.

“Indian Arrows are much more talented and the coach is very knowledgeable. We have to fight tomorrow. I found that in the initial stages of I-League, Arrows played counter-attacking football. When the game started, the move started from the back. But now, they play open football. That means the players have that kind of quality to adapt in these couple of months. It is not easy to do that,” Mohan Bagan coach Sankarlal Chakraborty said.

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Mohun Bagan has been in excellent form on the road. It is undefeated in all its away matches so far comprising of three wins and three draws.

It remains to be seen if it can maintain its record with all three of its final games being away from home. After the Arrows test, it goes up against Churchill Brothers FC and Gokulam FC.

“We have been playing very well good football in our last a few matches. In some games, we failed, but we came back in the last couple of matches,” Chakravorty said.

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He conceded that playing in the inaugural Super Cup would be a motivation for Bagan, but said that the side will take it one game at a time. With the I-League season ending in a few days time, Matos suggested that it was important for the players to recover.

“The principal focus was the development. We proved that it was a very good decision to put these players and plan at this level. The progress is evident. Now it is important for the players to recover,” the Portuguese coach said.