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ISL 2019 Week 1 Round-up: A pulsating start to season 6, NorthEast on top

ISL 2019 Week 1 Round-up: A pulsating start to season 6, NorthEast on top

Abhranil Roy

Published: 27 Oct 2019 6:53 AM GMT

The Indian Super League (ISL) is up and running and it has been quite a thrilling week of football to start Season 6. The season kicked off with a lot of glitz and glamour as Bollywood stars Tiger Shroff and Disha Patani hosted the opening ceremony in Kochi, followed by Kerala Blasters taking on ATK.

The home side nicked them game 2-1 thanks to new signing Bartholomew Ogbeche who scored both the goals and looks set to be the contender for the Golden Boot already. A 0-0 tie between Bengaluru FC and Northeast United FC followed next, and then Jamshedpur FC racked up a 2-1 win over newbies Odisha FC. FC Goa underlined their credentials with a solid 3-1 triumph over Chennaiyin FC at home, while Matchday 5 saw Mumbai City FC eke out a 1-0 victory over Kerala Blasters away. Matchday 6 arguably saw the most one-sided game so far, as ATK thumped 5 past the hapless FC Hyderabad in their first home match of the campaign. On the last matchday, Northeast United eked out a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Odisha FC to go on top of the table with four points from two games after the first week.


Takeaways from Week 1:

I. FC Goa is the overwhelming favourites to win the title

Two-time finalists, defending Hero Super Cup champions and a culture of playing attractive, attacking football — FC Goa look set to bring all their experience and quality and turn it into a title-winning campaign this year. That win against Chennaiyin FC was not only comprehensive but also laid down Sergio Lobera’s ambitions quite clearly. Goals from players all over the pitch, raucous home support and better game management — it had all the ingredients to make it a delightful watch. The Gaurs have also learnt from their previous season’s heartbreak and inculcated a bit of pragmatism in their game but overall, even though it is still very early to say they do look the champions-elect.

II. Bengaluru FC have their task cut out for them

The defending champions of the ISL knew that they would not have it easy this season and if the opening game was anything to go by, that prediction has come true. The departure of Miku was always going to hit them hard and his replacement, Manuel Onwu, did not look at par with the Spaniard. Given the fact that it was always likely that the pressure of delivering upfront would fall on Sunil Chhetri, the Blues should probably have kept some more options to explore. However, Bengaluru FC have shown time and again that they can get up and go all the way even when the situation is adverse for them and Carlos Cuadrat and his men can always be expected to pull a rabbit out of their hat.

III. The new sides will be in for a chastening experience

Both Odisha FC and Hyderabad FC started off their ISL campaigns with a loss but it was the latter who suffered a more humiliating one. The former showed a lot of heart against Jamshedpur FC but the lack of experience showed at the end. Even against NorthEast, Odisha FC were their own undoing as they conceded late and lost. Hyderabad FC, however, looked clueless against ATK and their coach Phil Brown has his work cut out for him. What is undeniable; however is that both these sides are more than likely to treat this season as a learning curve and see where it takes them. On paper, they have good squads but football is much a battle of skill as it is of experience and mindset and both these sides have a lot to learn in that aspect, as the first week showed.

Stats of the week:

Matches Played: 7

Goals Scored: 18

Avg Goals per game: 2.6

Most goals: 2 — Edu Garcia (ATK); Bartholomew Ogbeche (Kerala Blasters); David Williams (ATK)

Most assists: Prabir Das ( ATK, 2)

Matches to look forward to in Week 2:

I. FC Goa v Bengaluru FC (28th October)

A replay of last season’s final will see high-flying FC Goa take on a misfiring Bengaluru FC at home at home. With nothing but revenge on their mind, how will the Blues fare against the attacking threat of Corominas and co?

II. Chennaiyin FC v ATK (30th October)

A struggling Chennaiyin FC, who finished last on the table last year will take on a top-heavy ATK who have seen all their strikers on the score-sheet in the first week.

III. Hyderabad FC v Kerala Blasters (2nd November)

Hyderabad FC will take on South Indian rivals Kerala Blasters in their first home game, ever. The Hyderabadis will be hoping to put the humiliation of their first-ever ISL encounter behind them while the Blasters will be eager to register a win in the first-ever Hyderabad-Kochi derby.

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