Dreams Stay Alive, All Out War And The Battle At The Bottom Heats Up

Indian Super League Review

This weekend’s action in the ISL was fantastic and arguably the best weekend in ISL history. There was a goal-fest, dreams were kept alive and all of the games were incredibly interesting. Enough of this boring introduction, lets dive, headfirst, into the action.   

Kerala Blasters 0-0 Chennaiyin    

Friday night had one of the big play-off clashes as Kerala hosted Chennaiyin. Chennaiyin needed a win to secure their playoff position, whilst Kerala needed a win to keep their play-off dream alive. It was always going to be an entertaining one, and boy did the teams go at each other.    

The first half was packed with action, however, the ball didn’t find its way into the back of the net, for either side. Kerala were all out against Chennaiyin and Chennaiyin were all out against Kerala. It was a fantastic half of football but unfortunately, there wasn’t a goal.    

The second-half started and it was all out war again as Kerala pushed for that all-important goal. They thought they had it when they were awarded a penalty on fifty-three minutes. Courage Pekuson stepped up to take it and it was a dreadful attempt. There was no power on it whatsoever and the placement was pretty poor too. Karanjit Singh had a fantastic day in net for Chennaiyin and he did everything to keep Kerala out of it. Right at the death, Singh’s counterpart, Rachubka, produced save of the season to deny Chennaiyin a late winner. It ended 0-0 but it could have easily been a 5-5 draw.    

The draw means Kerala cannot make the playoffs now, which is unfortunate because they fought for it with all their effort and probably deserved a spot. Chennaiyin can still be caught but they would have to lose both games and hope that Goa or Mumbai do not win their remaining games and that they don’t close the goal difference gap.    

Delhi Dynamos 4-3 ATK   

What a game! Saturday night didn’t disappoint and, if my memory serves me right, I did say this was going to be a cracking game. Chris Darwen didn’t take my advice and missed out on the game of the season. Both teams are in a heated battle with each other and NorthEast to avoid finishing bottom of the league. Both teams needed a win so they could open up a comfortable gap between each other and NorthEast. The game was exactly the same as Kerala vs Chennaiyin, however, it included goals.   

The first-half started and it was all out war just like the Friday night game. Delhi were looking dangerous on the attack, whilst ATK were stalking their opponents and waiting to pounce on the counter-attack. It was a game for the ages and the first of seven goals went in. My man Kalu Uche getting his seventh goal in six games and putting Delhi 1-0 up. Delhi didn’t hold onto the lead that long as Cichero wanted in on the goals, however, he netted in the wrong goal and put ATK back on level terms, heading into half-time.  

The second half started and this was where the game went into complete madness. Robbie Keane had returned to his side for his regular solo appearance every seven or eight games and he managed to put ATK 2-1 up on fifty-two minutes. He wasn’t finished there as six minutes later he bagged his second of the game and put ATK 3-1 up.    

The game looked over for Delhi, and I was quite worried as I have taken to Delhi in the past few weeks. However, Uche wasn’t going to let Delhi go down that easily and pulled one back for Delhi on sixty-nine minutes, making the scoreline 3-2 to ATK. ATK crumbled and allowed Delhi to pull level two minutes later as Seityasen Singh smashed one in to make the scoreline 3-3. Both teams were up for it again and both teams had fantastic chances to score a late winner. The game seemed like it was going to end 3-3 until substitute Matia Mirabaje, through an Uche assist, scored on ninety-one minutes and produced one of the best comebacks in ISL history.    

The game ended 4-3 to Delhi and I was buzzing for Delhi. The win takes them to 8th place and, more importantly, they cannot be caught by NorthEast, which means they have managed to not finish bottom, even though they spent the majority of the season there. What an achievement! ATK fall down to 9th and two points above NorthEast, but they have a game in hand over Avram Grant’s side.    

Pune City 0-4 FC Goa    

Pune, Pune are falling apart again. Oh sorry, that’s meant for Leeds. The early Sunday kick-off had Pune City faceoff with FC Goa in a battle of two play-off contenders. A win for Pune would confirm their spot in the play-offs, whilst Goa needed a win to keep their playoff dream alive and generally keep the league interesting, going into the last games of the season,   

This game was never going to disappoint, although most didn’t expect the outcome and no one expected the game to unfold the way it did. The first half started and Pune looked a little nervy at first, with Goa going at their throats from the first whistle. This resulted in Goa winning a penalty on twenty-eight minutes and the ever-reliant Lanzarote slotted it away to put Goa 1-0 up.    

The rest of the first half was pretty much Goa having attack after attack and nothing coming of them. Pune looked awful and it genuinely surprised me. The first half ended 1-0 and Goa probably should have had a few more to their name.    

The second-half turned into chaos and it didn’t take long to do so. Goa went 2-0 up on forty-seven minutes as Corominas turned provider and set up Hugo Boumous for an easy goal. Pune were dreadful and genuinely looked like they didn’t care about the game.    

Things went Goa’s way again as Corominas turned goalscorer on fifty-eight minutes and put his dominant Goa side 3-0 up. There was more horror at the back for Pune when they conceded a second penalty on sixty-five minutes. In what was a brave and bold move, Corominas took over and slotted the ball home to put the last nail in Pune’s coffin and put Goa 4-0 up.    

Goa continued to dominate the remaining twenty-five minutes and should have had a couple more goals. The game ended 4-0 but before it ended Marcelinho showed his aggression in the worst possible way and stamped on a Goa players leg. He was shown a red card and will definitely miss their crucial and final game of the season.   

The win puts Goa 6th, with a game in hand over the teams above them. The playoff race will go down to the wire and Pune can somehow miss out on the playoffs, although it would take some doing. Pune stay 2nd after the loss and will be nervously looking over their shoulder going into their final game of the season.   

Jamshedpur 0 -2 Bengaluru    

The second Sunday game playoff dreamers Jamshedpur face off with top of the league Bengaluru. Jamshedpur needed to win as they looked to try and end both Kerala and Mumbai’s playoff dreams. Bengaluru, who have already confirmed their place and confirmed top spot after Pune’s heavy defeat, were looking to keep their form up and their unbeaten streak alive. The game didn’t disappoint; however, Jamshedpur definitely made the battle for the play-offs a lot more interesting for the final game week.    

The first half started and Jamshedpur set up, like they always do, to defend. However, something seemed off about them and Bengaluru sensed that straight away. It wasn’t long until Bengaluru were creating dangerous chances and one of those lead to them being awarded a penalty on twenty-three minutes. Miku stepped up and smashed it home to put the league leaders 1-0 up.    

Bengaluru weren’t finished there and they continued to attack aggressively, with Jamshedpur struggling to contain them at times. They finally doubled their lead on thirty-four minutes when Sunni Chhetri smashed a header home from a fantastic corner delivery.    

The first-half ended and Bengaluru held a commanding 2-0 lead. Jamshedpur looked dreadful and it was really costing them at such a crucial point in their season.    

The second half started and Bengaluru seemed a little more relaxed, almost as if they knew they had won the game. Jamshedpur should have taken advantage of this but they didn’t and it almost seemed as if Steve Coppell’s side were happy with the loss.   

Not a lot happened in the second half, there were a few half chances for Bengaluru and Jamshedpur were trying to luck their way to an opening but other than Mehtab Hossain’s red card right at the death, nothing really happened. The game ended 2-0 and Bengaluru continued their unbeaten streak.    

The win keeps Bengaluru top of the league and they are now eight points ahead of 2nd place Pune. Jamshedpur stay 4th after the defeat and have kept Kerala and Mumbai’s chances of sneaking into the play-offs alive. Steve Coppell and the other managers are in for a very nervy week.   

That was that for game week fifteen for the ISL, we are heading into the final game week with a total of six teams fighting for the play-off places. I am sure this week’s games will be fantastic and a brilliant watch from anyone’s point of view.   

About the Author

Stephen Beavon
Just a young football fan who likes to get his opinion across to others. Love Birmingham City, although it is difficult at times.