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ISL: From tight contests to easy wins, a look at all the inaugural matches of the league

The eighth edition of the competition is to begin soon amidst a lot of excitement and fanfare.

ISL: From tight contests to easy wins, a look at all the inaugural matches of the league

The Indian Super League trophy. (Image Source: footballcounter.com)


Staff Reporter

Updated: 17 Nov 2021 7:13 AM GMT

The latest season of the Indian Super League (ISL) is all set to start from 19th November 2021. ATK Mohun Bagan and Kerala Blasters FC will once again kick off the eighth edition of the competition at the Fatorda Stadium, Goa. For the fifth season in a row, the league will commence with a clash between the Mariners (formerly ATK/Atletico de Kolkata) and the Yellow Army. The two outfits have a huge fan base and the encounter will be an exciting one, to say the least.

Whichever season it may be, the inaugural game has its own unique charm. The excitement levels are high, the teams are full of ambition and more. The result of the first game of the season can give an insight into what's in the store for the participating teams too. As the new season approaches, let us take a look at each of the inaugural matches from the past:

ISL 1: ATK 3 - 0 Mumbai City FC

The first-ever match of the Indian Super League was played between ATK (Atletico de Kolkata) and Mumbai City FC at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. It was a huge occasion for Indian football which was witnessing a landmark event. The introduction of the ISL, with better investment and level of football, had a lot of promise. Fans were eager to see iconic international players in action. The tie between the two sides ended in favour of the Kolkata-based club. Fikru, Borja Fernandes and Arnal Llibert were the scorers for the winning team. Atletico de Kolkata also went on to win the inaugural season of the ISL.

ISL 2: Chennaiyin FC 2 - 3 ATK FC

The second season of the ISL was also a promising one as it carried on from the success of the first season. More investment and marquee signings increased the popularity of the league ten-folds. The first tie between Chennaiyin FC and ATK (Atletico de Kolkata) was an electric one. The visitors won by a 3-2 scoreline in a tight contest. Jeje Lalpekhlua and Elano scored for the hosts while Helder Postiga (2) and Valdo scored for the visitors. CFC eventually went on to win the season and defeated ATK in the semi-final too.

ISL 3: NorthEast United FC 1 - 0 Kerala Blasters FC

The third season of the ISL saw NorthEast United FC defeat Kerala Blasters FC by a solitary goal. Katsumi was the scorer for the Highlanders as they recorded an important opening day victory over the Yellow Army. As the season went on, NEUFC finished in fifth place, narrowly missing out on a playoff place. As for KBFC, they reached the ISL final but lost on penalties to ATK.

ISL 4: Kerala Blasters FC 0 - 0 ATK FC

JLN Stadium in Kochi played host to the opening fixture from the fourth edition of the ISL between KBFC and ATK FC. Previous year's finalists remained unseparated in this fixture as it ended nil-nil in neither's favour. This season was particularly memorable as it introduced two new teams such as Jamshedpur FC and Bengaluru FC into the fold. The latter joined from the I-League and reached the final on their first attempt, losing to CFC. KBFC finished sixth and ATK finished a dismal ninth by the end of the season.

ISL 5: ATK FC 0 - 2 Kerala Blasters FC

The fifth edition of the ISL saw the same teams clash in the opening game as the season before. The Salt Lake Stadium played host to the opening fixture which ended 2-0 in the favour of the away team. Matej Poplatnik and Slavisa Stojanovic were the scorers for the Yellow Army while the Kolkata-based club did not register on the scoresheet. As for the season, neither ATK nor KBFC qualified into the playoffs, finishing sixth and ninth respectively.

ISL 6: Kerala Blasters FC 2 - 1 ATK FC

Once again the opening fixture of the sixth edition of the ISL was played between Kerala Blasters FC and ATK FC at the JLN Stadium in Kochi. Once again, the Yellow Army emerged victorious over the visitors. Bartholomew Ogbeche scored a brace for the hosts while Carl McHugh got on the scoresheet for the visitors. ATK would go on to win this season of the ISL, their third overall, becoming the most successful club in the competition. As for KBFC, they would settle for seventh place in the final league standings.

ISL 7: Kerala Blasters FC 0 - 1 ATK Mohun Bagan

Keeping up with the tradition, Kerala Blasters FC and ATK Mohun Bagan (post the merger with Mohun Bagan) kicked-off season seven of the ISL. The opening tie saw the visitors take away all three points by a 1-0 win. Roy Krishna was the difference maker between the two sides. As the season progressed, the fortunes of the two teams took very different shapes. As for KBFC, they finished 10th while the Mariners reached the final but lost the title to MCFC.

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