Game-week 9 of the Hero ISL saw some major upsets as the favourites took a beating against lesser opposition. The week turned out to be extremely favourable for FC Goa though, as the Gaurs recaptured their spot on top of the ISL table.
The Gaurs kicked off ISL in 2020 with a solid 2-0 at home against Northeast United FC, and currently have also scored the most goals in ISL 19/20 so far. The Highlanders, on the other hand, has endured a miserable form of late and their misfortunes seem set to continue with Asamoah Gyan ruled out for the season with an injury. Bengaluru FC followed the steps of Goa, replicating a similar win at the Kanteerava against Jamshedpur FC. Chennaiyin FC thrashed bottom-of-the-table Hyderabad FC 3-1 away from home, registering their first away in over a year. Odisha FC got the better of Mumbai City FC next, in the first upset of the week. In the very next day, Kerala Blasters pipped ATK 1-0 at the Salt Lake Stadium, registering consecutive wins in the ISL for the first time since February 2018.
Takeaways from Week 9
Odisha FC and KBFC turning out to be the dark horses
With their recent change in fortune, Odisha FC is currently 4th on the ISL table while the Blasters are at the 6th spot. Aridane Santane has been on fine form for the former while Eelco has finally got his tactics right for the Blasters. All things said and done, one could make a case that these two sides look best placed to make a stab at the playoff spot, and it seems Bengaluru FC and Mumbai City FC will also be in the mix. FC Goa and ATK seem to be certain to make it to the playoffs as of now, so the battle will mostly be in between these 4 sides for the remaining spots.
The season is as good as over for Hyderabad FC
With only 1 win in 12 games, Hyderabad FC sacked Phil Brown and appointed Albert Roca as their new manager. In his first press conference in charge, Roca already declared they are planning for the next season as this one is as good as over for them. With only 5 points in 12 games, it seems the Nizams have written this campaign off already.
Some key stats from Gameweek 9:
Matches Played: 58
Goals Scored: 159
Average goals per game: 2.74
Most goals: 8 —Roy Krishna (ATK FC), Ferran Corominas( FC Goa), Sunil Chhetri( Bengaluru FC)
Most assists: 5 — Brandon Fernandes (FC Goa)
Matches to look forward to in Gameweek 10
Mumbai City FC v Bengaluru FC
A critical battle to determine who stays in the Top 4 and who goes: the Islanders will be determined to get their season back on track after a string of bad losses against the back-on-track Bengaluru FC.
ATK FC v FC Goa
A battle of the top two with top spot open for the winners: a mouth-watering clash awaits us this week in the ISL.