There were some blockbuster games this weekend in the fourteenth game week of the ISL. Let’s dive straight into the action, starting with Bengaluru vs Pune City.
Bengaluru 1-1 Pune City
Friday night had top of the league Bengaluru play host to 2nd place Pune City. Bengaluru came into the game on the back of a win in the AFC Cup on Tuesday, whilst Pune were looking to reduce the gap between them and their opponents. Bengaluru were going into the game without drawing a single game this season and in my preview before the game I predicted Pune to inflict this first draw, and I wasn’t wrong.
Bengaluru seemed to be affected by the effects of only having three days to prepare for the game and Pune took advantage of this, taking the lead on twenty-one minutes through Golui Sarthak. Pune continued to cause Bengaluru problems, and they were the first team to really look like they were going to inflict a heavy defeat on Bengaluru this season.
The first half ended with a 1-0 scoreline for Pune and they fully deserved their lead. Bengaluru were looking very nervous and edgy in the game, nothing like their usual composed selves.
The second half started and Bengaluru had woken up. They went full steam ahead from the kick-off and were finally rewarded with an equaliser on seventy-five minutes, through the ever reliant Miku. Pune became extremely cautious around Bengaluru who had a few chances to win the game in the last couple of minutes but the game ended 1-1 and Bengaluru fell to their first draw of the campaign.
Pune stay 2nd and five points behind their opponents, on the plus side they didn’t allow the gap to increase to eight points so they can still catch their opponents but it would take a miracle. Bengaluru obviously, stay top of the league and look to be entering the playoffs as favourites.
NorthEast United 0-1 Kerala Blasters
Saturday night had struggling NorthEast United play host to playoff contenders Kerala Blasters. NorthEast went into the game in awful form and looking doomed to be bottom of the table by the end of the season. Kerala were looking to keep their playoff hopes alive and desperately needed a win.
NorthEast started the game fairly well and took Kerala by surprise by wanting to play attacking football, the problem was NorthEast didn’t have the quality to keep this going and Kerala caught on quite quickly.
Kerala took the lead on twenty-eight minutes when Wes Brown smashed home a header for his first ISL goal of his career. Perfect start for David James’ side. The first half died out quite quickly with this goal as Kerala were happy to sit back and NorthEast weren’t really producing anything decent in the last third of the pitch.
The first half ended and Kerala went in with a 1-0 lead. NorthEast were missing both Doungel and Marcinho and considering Grant was trying to play attacking football, these were the two players who could do that for him. However, Marcinho wasn’t even in the matchday squad.
The second half was extremely boring with Kerala happy to hold on for a 1-0 win and NorthEast just playing desperate football and hoping something would happen and luck would be on their side, however, it wasn’t and the game ended 1-0 to Kerala.
The loss keeps NorthEast ninth, level on points with bottom side Delhi, who have two games in hand on NorthEast so it doesn’t look good for Avram Grant’s side. The win keeps Kerala 5th and only two points off 4th place Jamshedpur so their last two games are must-win games, however, the games aren’t easy as they face Chennaiyin and then Bengaluru.
Chennaiyin 1-1 Jamshedpur
The first of two games on Sunday had 3rd place Chennaiyin host 4th place Jamshedpur in a game which could easily be a playoff game, come the end of the season. Both teams were desperate for a win so they could pull away from Kerala, who are becoming a bigger threat each week.
The first half started and both teams were playing cautiously, trying not to allow the other team a chance to score. That was working until Wellington Priori smashed a distance volley into the bottom corner to put Jamshedpur 1-0 up. The first half ended 1-0 and Jamshedpur looked to be happy to hold on to the one-goal advantage.
Chennaiyin were not having that game plan from Jamshedpur and they went out with intent in the second half. They had a fair few half decent chances but it was looking more and more likely that Jamshedpur would hold on. That was until Mohammed Rafi netted an eighty-eighth-minute equaliser and salvage an important point for Chennaiyin.
The draw keeps both teams in the same positions as they were before the game and the gap between the two stays at two points, with the same amount of points separating Jamshedpur and Kerala.
ATK 1-2 Mumbai City
The final game of game week fourteen had struggling ATK host playoff contenders Mumbai City. ATK needed to win to keep them from falling into the battle of the bottom and Mumbai needed to win to keep their playoff dreams alive.
The first half was all Mumbai, with ATK looking their usual selves, completely useless. Mumbai had a few good chances in the first half and were finally rewarded on thirty-two minutes when Marcio Rosario found the back of the net.
The first half ended 1-0 to Mumbai, who fully deserved their lead and should have been going into the break with a couple more goals.
The second half started and it was a hectic first ten minutes as ATK equalised through Bipin Singh on forty-seven minutes. Mumbai quickly regained the lead on fifty-three minutes when Rafael Jorda found the back of the net.
ATK never really pushed on again from Mumbai’s second goal and Mumbai were attacking but not really threatening ATK for the remainder of the game. With that, the game ended 2-1 to Mumbai and they managed to keep their playoff dreams alive.
The loss keeps ATK in 8th place, two points ahead of both Delhi and NorthEast. Delhi have a game in hand over ATK but ATK have a game in hand over NorthEast so the whole battle isn’t looking great for Avram Grant’s side.
The win keeps Mumbai 7th and on the same points as 6th place Goa. They are now still six points behind Jamshedpur but have a game in hand over them, so they still have an outside chance of getting that 4th place.
That was it for the action over the weekend. We witnessed someone, slightly, stop Bengaluru, Northeast and ATK suffer their weekly defeats and a goal of the season contender from Wellington Priori.