The Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 action returned post the international break with some closely fought encounters as teams toiled hard until the last minute to secure important results. Chennaiyin FC opened their account with a gruelling victory over Hyderabad FC whereas Punjab FC and Jamshedpur FC gave it their all yet couldn’t break the deadlock in a goalless draw. In the Saturday double header, FC Goa corrected their disappointing away record with a 2-1 win over East Bengal FC whereas Kerala Blasters FC and NorthEast United FC netted once each to settle for a 1-1 draw. Here are some of the hits and misses from the previous Matchweek of ISL 2023-24.
Hits & Misses
FC Goa 2 – 1 East Bengal FC
Hit: Victor Rodriguez came in as a last-minute injury replacement for Goa’s talisman Noah Sadaoui and the Spanish midfielder optimised this opportunity with an impactful outing against the Red & Gold Brigade. He set up the equaliser for Sandesh Jhingan in the 74th minute before striking himself to seal the deal for the Gaurs against the Carles Cuadrat-coached side.
Miss: This was the second consecutive game that East Bengal took the lead through Naorem Mahesh Singh and then went on to concede twice and take away no points from the contest. Cuadrat had stressed upon the importance of closing out such hardly-fought games with a draw, if need be, after their loss in Bengaluru. Their defensive arrangement went for a toss in that brief phase of play and the tactician will have to ensure that such instances are avoided going forward.
Kerala Blasters FC 1 – 1 NorthEast United FC
Hit: Kerala Blasters FC have found a new star in their 27-year-old midfielder Danish Farooq, who scored in the second half and rescued a point for the home side against the Highlanders. The midfielder has developed an impressive knack of finding the back of the net and his camaraderie with Uruguayan Adrian Luna is ensuring that the Blasters discover newer ways of finding the attacking the opposition’s backline.
Miss: NorthEast United FC had several chances to double their lead post the opening strike by Nestor Albiach, but the visitors weren’t as sharp in front of the goal as they would have liked. The 31-year-old donned the dual role of a playmaker as well as that of a goal-scorer and the team could have arguably benefitted from him carrying out the responsibilities of the latter in a greater capacity instead.
Jamshedpur FC 0 – 0 Punjab FC
Hit: Jamshedpur’s Japanese star Rei Tachikawa built from his superb free-kick against Hyderabad to deliver another incredible performance at home against Punjab FC. He assumed a free role in the frontline and rounded off the proceedings after creating six goal-scoring opportunities, tackling thrice, and putting nine crosses into the box! Unfortunately, the Red Miners were unable to convert any of those chances and bagged only a solitary point from the game.
Miss: Punjab FC relies heavily on Luka Majcen to lead the attack, but the Slovenian international was unable to deliver the required output in this game. He created a couple of chances but squandered a wonderful opportunity to draw the scores level, thanks to some impressive defending by Elson José Dias Júnior in the 54th minute.
Chennaiyin FC 1 – 0 Hyderabad FC
Hit: Scottish sharpshooter Connor Shields finally hit the ground running with a brilliant play and goal to add fuel to a faltering Chennaiyin campaign. His strike and the play that led to it must have inspired their supporters and reiterated their belief in Owen Coyle to work his magic around the Marina Machans.
Miss: Hyderabad’s attack had many individual moments of brilliance, thanks to Joe Knowles, Petteri Pennanen, and Aaren D’Silva. However they couldn’t click cohesively and paid the price for it with no goals to their name eventually. Tactician Thangboi Singto will have to bring his boys together to play as a team for them to get their season back on track.
ISL Matchweek 5 – Preview
The upcoming matchweek of the ISL will see some highly-anticipated games, starting off with Bengaluru FC hosting with the hope of bringing an end to the winning streak of FC Goa on October 25. NorthEast United FC will welcome Jamshedpur FC on the following day and Kerala Blasters FC will play another home game, this time with Odisha FC, on October 27. Hyderabad FC and Punjab FC will travel and take on Mumbai City FC and Chennaiyin FC on October 28 and October 29 respectively, searching for their first win of the ISL season.
Source: ISL Media
Report- Pratyusha Mukherjee