Already crowned champions a week ago, RoundGlass Punjab ended the I-League season in style with yet another convincing 2-0 victory over TRAU FC here at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium on Sunday, March 12. Staikos Vergetis’s men finished with 52 points from 22 matches, becoming the first champion side to cross the 50-point mark since Churchill Brothers in 2012-13.
Federation President Kalyan Chaubey, who was present on the occasion, presented the prizes in a simple but impressive ceremony. AIFF Executive Committee Member and AIFF Futsal Committee Chairman Vijay Bali was also present.
The icing on the cake for RoundGlass Punjab FC was Slovenian forward Luka Majcen’s brace on the night, which allowed him to surpass David Castaneda’s tally and win the Golden Boot with 16 goals.
Tiddim Road Athletic Union (TRAU) FC knew before kick-off that they would finish fourth even if they manage to beat this season’s I-League champions, as Gokulam Kerala FC cemented third place by beating Sreenidi Deccan FC earlier in the day. It is difficult to say whether that led to a lack of motivation, but Leimapokpam Nandakumar Singh’s boys did not look the pugnacious lot they have been this season.
Luka Majcen, however, was his usual self around the opponents’ penalty area. He scored his 15th goal of the season and the first of the match in the 35th minute with a dipping right-footer from well outside the box.
Majcen’s hot pursuit of becoming the league’s top-scorer finally came to an end just after the break with a coolly-placed header. Freddy Lallawmawma made a sharp turn on the right edge of the TRAU box and sent a perfect cross to the Slovenian waiting in the middle between two defenders. He headed it into the left corner to make it 2-0.
TRAU could never stage a comeback. The Red Pythons will now take on Aizawl FC in the Super Cup qualifiers on April 6. RoundGlass Punjab FC have already qualified for the group stages as I-League champions.
2022-23 I-League Awards
I-League Winners: RoundGlass Punjab FC (₹ 1,00,00,000)
Hero of the League: Luka Majcen – RoundGlass Punjab FC (₹ 5,00,000)
Best Goalkeeper: Kiran Kumar Limbu – RoundGlass Punjab FC (₹ 2,50,000)
Best Midfielder: Juan Mera – RoundGlass Punjab FC (₹ 2,50,000)
Highest Scorer: Luka Majcen (16 goals) – RoundGlass Punjab FC (₹ 2,50,000)
AIFF Fair Play Award: TRAU FC (₹ 1,00,000)