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I-League 2023/24: Matchday 1 Preview

The 2023/24 I-League is back bigger and better than before to decide the next team earning promotion to the ISL. Let’s look at the I-League 2023/24 Matchday 1 Preview.

Last updated: 28.10.2023
I-League 2023/24: Matchday 1 Preview

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The 17th season of the I-League will be nothing like before as 13 teams with two new corporate entries, Inter Kashi and Namdhari FC, are set to battle for the honor that will book them a ticket to the top flight. Delhi FC and Shillong Lajong are the other two sides making up the league having promoted from third division. Punjab FC, won the I-league as RoundGlass Punjab, became the first side to be elevated to the ISL after promotion started from last season.

Now the rest of the pack are counting on their chances as 2023/24 I-League begins on 28th October 2023. The opening week of the league will have nail biting encounters which could set the tone for the sides early in the season. All but one club will be in action this week with the exception of promoted side Shillong Lajong. Both clubs with direct entry will play their first ever game in the league as well. The starting games of the 156 matches going to be played this season.  

Saturday, 28 October 2023  


Real Kashmir vs Rajasthan United - TRC Football Turf, Srinagar (14:00)

The 2023/24 I-League season kicks-off at the north of the country as Real Kashmir take on Rajasthan United in the afternoon game. The Snow Leopards finished fifth last season and will be hoping for a better finish this time with a strong start to the campaign. Isfaq Ahmed will be in-charge of the club to translate his success with the India U-17 side at the SAFF Championship few months back. On the other hand, Rajasthan United are looking to overturn their disappointing ninth place finish last term with some key additions to the squad. Coached by Pushpender Kundu, the team want to make the best of their talents finally taking the few positives they had last season. However, the Desert Warriors are yet to win this fixture having beaten twice last season and their first meeting in the I-League ending in a 2-2 draw.                 

Gokulam Kerala vs Inter Kashi - EMS Corporate Stadium, Kozhikode (19:00)

Certainly the game of the week, two-time winners Gokulam Kerala faces new boys Inter Kashi with both sides strengthened massively in the transfer market. The duo are also in contention for the title, despite Kashi playing their debut campaign, making this clash an early check on their chances. Gokulam made more sensible signing this time out after losing their league dominance at a wrong time last season. Bringing in one of ISL’s best midfielders Edu Bedia following his release from FC Goa, Barcelona Academy product Nili Perdomo, Komron Tursunov in attack or the huge experience of Anas Edathodika, the Malabarians are ready for a promising season under new coach Domingo Oramas. If the two-time champions have recruited admiringly in the summer, Inter Kashi could also pose a close challenge with their own series of star signings. Be it Ex-ISL stars like Peter Hartley, Arindam Bhattacharya, Jackichand Singh or Sumeet Passi, former league winner with Gokulam in Deepak Devrani or young sensations like Beyong Kojum and Nikum Gyamar. The first professional club from Uttar Pradesh has high ambitions this season and are wishing their Spaniard coach Carlos Santamarina make it happen for them.              


Sunday, 29 October 2023

Sreenidi Deccan vs Neroca FC - Deccan Arena, Hyderabad FC (16:30)

Having enjoyed their stay on top of the table, Sreenidi Deccan ultimately surrendered the top spot to RoundGlass Punjab, now Punjab FC, finishing 10 points behind the I-League winners. Missing out on the winners’s medal and above all promotion to the ISL as the first side in history surely would have ached the Hyderabad based side. Learning from their mistakes now, Sreenidi want to go again although competition will be stiffer this season with more than one contender for the I-League title. The Deccan warriors have made some key additions to the squad bringing in Eli Sabia, formerly of ISL team Jamshedpur FC, Sajid Dhot from Chennaiyin, goalkeeper Albino Gomes from fellow side Churchill Brothers or European league campaigners like Ibrahim Sissoko to bolster their defense. They have also made sure to tie up their star striker David Castaneda for more seasons. Sreenidi begin their season against Neroca FC who finished 10th last season, eight points ahead of a relegation spot. The club from Manipur will not want to repeat their dull showing last time as more teams getting added to the league increases the battle to avoid the drop. Neroca are also winless in the last four meetings of this tie in all competitions so they face a hard test from the start.                


Mohammedan SC vs Aizawl FC - Naihati Stadium, Naihati (19:00)

Mohammedan SC will have an interesting season ahead in the I-League as they could earn direct entry to the ISL next year should they get associated with a new investors from UAE. Nevertheless, Andrey Chernyshov’s side will aim for the silverware to translate their state league dominance, completing a hat-trick of Calcutta Football League titles, into national level. The Black Panthers had a frustrating campaign last season finishing a low eighth and not mounting any title challenge at all. The Kolkata giants will want to have a strong say riding on their scoring machine David Lalhlansanga who grabbed the Golden Boot award in CFL as well as the Durand Cup and with a mixture of local and talents from the northeast states. Mohammedan SC’s journey in the 2023/24 I-League season will begin against David’s ex-club and former winners Aizawl FC at home. The People’s Club as they are known could be tricky for big guns this season especially in Mizoram but want to articulate themselves in away games as well. While Aizawl finished seventh last season, their talent-filled signing including some from ISL clubs could make them a side to take seriously this time.

For the full schedule of I League 2023/24 visit I-League Fixtures for the 2023/24 season

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