There were two matches, but three questions.
The first: Who will finish second in the I-League? Dempo SC or East Bengal?
That took all to the second question: Will Hindustan Aeronautics Limited beat Dempo and save relegation in the process?
And, then, the third surfaced: Will JCT survive or go down with ONGC? Obviously, every question was inter-linked, and all found their answers.
HAL defied form and name to upset former champions Dempo 4-2 to move out of the I-League's relegation zone and stay afloat for the next season.
The result had two implications: Dempo finished third with 50 points, a point below East Bengal.
Four teams -- Air India, HAL, JCT and ONGC -- finished with 24 points. But, on head-to-head count (matches played between the four teams), JCT and ONGC were relegated; HAL and Air India survived.
As Dempo took on HAL, the first sense of drama came as early as the 11th minute, when RC Prakash put HAL ahead at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Margao, Goa. The promise was very much there -- an upset was on the cards.
The goal failed to spur HAL; instead it came as a wake-up call for Dempo. Ranti Martins, who ended the I-League as the highest scorer, with 30 goals, scored twice in quick succession -- his first in the 25th minute and followed it up with another in the 42nd, as Dempo went into the breather with a 2-1 lead.
But the real drama was to follow. Changing over, HAL restored parity -- Vijay Kumar slotting home in the 50th minute and then put HAL in the lead in the 68th.
Then, an own goal from Valleriano Rebello, in the 87th minute, ended Dempo's hopes of finishing second. HAL won 4-2.
Dempo finished third, with 50 points from 26 matches, while HAL placed 12th, as they finished their engagements with 24 points.
East Bengal beat Chirag: In Kolkata, there wasn't any such drama when East Bengal took on Chirag United at the Salt Lake Stadium.
Sushant Mathew put East Bengal in the lead in the 18th minute, only for Australian striker Tolgay Ozbey to double it in the 38th.
Sunil Chhetri pulled one back for Chirag in the 63rd.
East Bengal finished their campaign in second place, with 51 points from 26 matches, while Chirag finished eighth, with 29 points from 26 matches.
TOP FIVE GOALSCORERS
1 Ranti Matins (Nigeria) Dempo Sports Club - 30 goals
2 Odafe Onyeka Okolie (Nigeria) Churchill Brothers - 25
3 Ryuji Sueoka (Japan) Salgaocar Sports Club - 18
4 Tolgay Ozbey (Australia) East Bengal - 17
5 Roberto Mendes Silva (Brazil) Dempo Sports Club - 16
TOP FIVE INDIAN GOALSCORERS
Jeje Lalpekhlua Indian Arrows - 12
Anil Kumar P.K Viva Kerala - 11
Sunil Chhetri Chirag United - 7
Gilbert Oliveira Salgaocar Sports Club - 6
Baljit Sahni East Bengal - 6
Shilton D'Silva Indian Arrows - 6
ONGC and JCT
Champions: Rs. 50 lakh
2nd Place: Rs. 28 lakh
3rd Place: Rs. 20 lakh
4th Place: Rs. 10 lakh
Victory per match: Rs. 35000
Man-of-the-Match: Rs. 5000
Most goals in a match: Dempo beat Air India 14-0
Biggest margin of victory: Dempo beat Air India 14-0
Highest Number of Goals scored by an Individual in a match: Ranti Martins (Dempo) 7 goals versus Air India
I-LEAGUE ROLL OF HONOUR
2007-08: Dempo SC
2008-09: Churchill Brothers
2009-10: Dempo SC
2010-11: Salgaocar SC
NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE CHAMPIONS
2006-07: Dempo SC
2005-06: Mahindra United
2004-05: Dempo SC
2003-04: East Bengal
2002-03: East Bengal
2001-02: Mohun Bagan
2000-01: East Bengal
1999-2000: Mohun Bagan
1998-99: Salgaocar SC
1997-98: Mohun Bagan
1996-97: JCT Mills