Hero ISL 2021/22: The Pre-Season build-up

It is less than a month to go for the new Hero ISL 2021-22 season, which is set to begin on 19th November. All eleven teams have already hit the ground running in their pre-season camps. While some are yet to play any pre-season friendlies, few other teams featured in the 2021 Durand Cup and battled in some friendlies to get themselves up and running ahead of the eighth Hero ISL season.

Here’s how all the teams have fared in the pre-season till now -

Hyderabad FC

Hyderabad undertook their pre-season preparations at home where they played a friendly against Kenkre FC followed by matches against Salgaocar FC, Churchill Brothers, and Gokulam Kerala FC in Goa putting up comprehensive victories.

In their bout against Mumbai's Kenkre FC, Javier Siverio scored a brace alongside Bart Ogbeche, and Aaren D'Silva managing a goal each.

Their first pre-season friendly in Goa again saw Javier Siverio, Bart Ogbeche, and Aaren D'Silva among the goalscorers with Rohit Danu in the 4-2 win over Salgaocar FC.

Here’s the list of Hyderabad FC’s pre-season fixtures and results:

DATE & VENUE

RESULTS & FIXTURES

24 September 2021, Hyderabad

Hyderabad FC 4-1 Kenkre FC

2 October 2021, Goa

Hyderabad FC 4-2 Salgaocar FC

8 October 2021, Goa

Hyderabad FC 2-1 Churchill Brothers

15 October 2021, Goa

Hyderabad FC 2-1 Gokulam Kerala FC

31 October 2021, Goa

Hyderabad FC 1-2 Mumbai City FC

16 November 2021, Goa

Hyderabad FC VS Odisha FC

Kerala Blasters FC

The Kochi-based outfit began their pre-season camp under newly appointed coach, Ivan Vukomanović, in early August and were among the five Hero ISL clubs that featured in the 2021 Durand Cup. The Blasters managed to win only one match in the group stage, as a result of which, they couldn’t qualify for the semi-finals.

Similar to Hyderabad FC, Kerala Blasters also fielded a team with players from their senior, reserve and development squads. The Yellow Brigade had lost to Kerala United 1-0 in their first pre-season match before playing out a 3-3 draw with them in the second fixture. They ended their pre-season in Kochi with momentum on their side, defeating MA Football Academy 3-0 courtesy of Jorge Diaz, Marko Leskovic, and Alvaro Vazquez finding the back of the net.

The Blasters played their first practice match against Odisha FC after resuming the camp in Goa. They won the game 2-1, with Prasanth Mohan and Alvaro Vazquez on the scoresheet.

Here’s the list of Kerala Blasters FC’s pre-season fixtures and results:

DATE & VENUE

RESULTS & FIXTURES

20 August 2021, Kochi, Kerala

Kerala Blasters FC 0-1 Kerala United FC

27 August 2021, Kochi, Kerala

Kerala Blasters FC 3-3 Kerala United FC

3 September 2021, Kochi, Kerala

Kerala Blasters FC 2-0 Jammu & Kashmir XI

5 October 2021, Kochi, Kerala

Kerala Blasters FC 2-0 Indian Navy

12 October 2021, Kochi, Kerala

Kerala Blasters FC 3-0 MA Football Academy

15 October 2021, Goa

Kerala Blasters FC VS FC Goa (Called-Off Due To Bad Weather)

1 November 2021, Goa

Kerala Blasters FC 2-1 Odisha FC

5 November 2021, Goa

Kerala Blasters FC VS Chennaiyin FC

9 November 2021, Goa

Kerala Blasters FC VS Jamshedpur FC

12 November 2021, Goa

Kerala Blasters FC VS Jamshedpur FC

Mumbai City FC

The defending Hero ISL champions and League Winners Shield holders began their pre-season training in Goa on 17th October after undergoing the stipulated quarantine period and are yet to play any pre-season friendlies so far. Newly-appointed head coach Des Buckingham took charge of his first session on 18th October.

Mumbai City FC played their first practice match of the pre-season against Hyderabad FC. They won the match 2-1 as Igor Angulo and Gurkirat Singh found the net.

The Islanders will face a tough test of character as they defend their double, alongside preparing for the 2022-23 AFC Champions League qualifiers.

Here’s the list of Mumbai City FC’s pre-season fixtures:

DATE & VENUE

FIXTURES

31 October 2021, Goa

Mumbai City FC 2-1 Hyderabad FC

4 November 2021, Goa

Mumbai City FC VS Jamshedpur FC

9 November 2021, Goa

Mumbai City FC VS Odish FC

14 November 2021, Goa

Mumbai City FC VS East Bengal FC

FC Goa

The Gaurs began their pre-season camp in early August to prepare for the 2021 Durand Cup. Juan Ferrando’s side registered a mixed squad like HFC and KBFC for the tournament and enjoyed a perfect run in the tournament before going on to win their first Durand Cup title. The highlight of the victory was the emergence of several young players such as Muhammed Nemil, Christy Davis, Papuia, to name a few.

With their title victory, Edu Bedia and Co also fired an early warning to the rest of the teams ahead of the Hero ISL season as they look to go one step further after reaching the top four last time out. The first team squad of the club is currently training in Goa.

Here's the list of FC Goa’s pre-season fixtures:

DATE & VENUE

FIXTURES

15 October 2021, Goa

FC Goa VS Kerala Blasters FC (Called-Off Due To Bad Weather)

4 November 2021, Goa

FC Goa VS East Bengal FC

5 November 2021, Goa

FC Goa VS East Bengal FC

12 November 2021, Goa

FC Goa VS Chennaiyin FC

Jamshedpur FC

The Men Of Steel also featured in the 2021 Durand Cup but managed to secure one victory in the tournament before losing out on the semi-finals spot.

They won the first practice match against Northeast United FC 2-0 and drew the second one against Bengaluru FC 1-1. Their new Australian acquisition found the net on all three occasions.

And here’s the list of Jamshedpur FC’s pre-season fixtures:

DATE & VENUE

FIXTURES

27 October 2021, Goa

Jamshedpur FC 2-0 Northeast United FC

30 October 2021, Goa

Jamshedpur FC 1-1 Bengaluru FC

4 November 2021, Goa

Jamshedpur FC VS Mumbai City FC

9 November 2021, Goa

Jamshedpur FC VS Kerala Blasters FC

12 November 2021, Goa

Jamshedpur FC VS Kerala Blasters FC

Bengaluru FC

The Blues also took part in the 2021 Durand Cup, registering a young, full-Indian squad with a blend of first and reserve team players. Guided by Naushad Moosa, the club made it to the semi-finals but lost to the eventual champions FC Goa on penalties after holding them to a 2-2 draw.

After holding a short training camp in Bellary, BFC have begun their pre-season training in Goa with all the first team players under new head coach Marco Pezzaiuoli. The team faced Chennaiyin FC in their first friendly bout of the pre-season, however, fell short 3-2 against them in Goa despite Leon Augustine and Cleiton Silva finding the back of the net.

In the second practice match against the Red Miners, a strike from Jayesh Rane gave them the early lead but Jordan Murray pulled it back before the half hour mark. The match ended in a draw.

Here’s the list of Bengaluru FC’s pre-season results and fixtures:

DATE & VENUE

RESULTS & FIXTURES

21 October 2021, Goa

Bengaluru FC 2-3 Chennaiyin FC

30 October 2021, Goa

Bengaluru FC 1-1 Jamshedpur FC

6 November 2021, Goa

Bengaluru FC VS FC Goa

Chennaiyin FC

The Marina Machans kick started their pre-season training on 26th September under newly-appointed head coach Božidar Bandović. The Yugoslavian has the experience of managing Olympiacos FC in the Greek first-division league and will have his task cut out as the two-time Hero ISL champions prepare to put the tame results of last season behind them.

Their first friendly fixture kicked off on 21st October against Bengaluru FC. CFC emerged victorious with Ariel Borysiuk, Vladimir Koman, and Edwin Sydney Vanspaul scoring for them while Bengaluru FC fell short by a goal in Goa.They will now meet Jamshedpur FC for their next friendly match on 27th October.

Here’s the list of Chennaiyin FC’s pre-season results and fixtures:

DATE & VENUE

RESULTS & FIXTURES

21 October 2021, Goa

Chennaiyin FC 3-2 Bengaluru FC

28 October 2021, Goa

Chennaiyin FC 1-2 Odisha FC

5 November 2021, Goa

Chennaiyin FC VS Kerala Blasters FC

12 November 2021, Goa

Chennaiyin FC VS FC Goa

Odisha FC

The Juggernauts began their pre-season camp in the first week of September in Goa. Meanwhile, their head coach for the 2021-22 season, Kiko Ramírez joined the camp on 10th September after undergoing quarantine.

In the successive outing against Chennaiyin FC, Javi and Victor were both on the scoresheet as they won the match 2-1. Four days later, Javi found the target yet again in a 2-1 loss to Kerala Blasters FC.

Here’s the list of Odisha FC’s pre-season results and fixtures:

DATE & VENUE

RESULTS & FIXTURES

18 September 2021, Goa

Odisha FC 3-1 Salgaocar FC

22 September 2021, Goa

Odisha FC 0-1 Dempo SC

25 September 2021, Goa

Odisha FC 1-1 Churchill Brothers

28 September 2021, Goa

Odisha FC 4-1 FC Goa Reserves

28 October 2021, Goa

Odisha FC 2-1 Chennaiyin FC

1 November 2021, Goa

Odisha FC 1-2 Kerala Blasters FC

9 November 2021, Goa

Odisha FC VS Mumbai City FC

16 November 2021, Goa

Odisha FC VS Hyderabad FC

East Bengal FC

The Red and Golds began their pre-season training on 7th October in Goa. New coach Manolo Díaz will have a lot on his shoulders as he gears up for the Hero ISL 2021-22 season but the Kolkata-based side have enjoyed a perfect start to their pre-season, winning all of their three friendlies thus far.  

SC East Bengal rode on goals from Amir Dervisevic and Sourav Das to overcome former I-League champion Salgaocar FC in a pre-season friendly staged in Goa after securing a 3-1 win over Vasco SC in their previous match-up.

East Bengal’s new Head Coach, Manolo Diaz tested Arindam Bhattacharya in goal after Sankar Roy and Suvam Sen got minutes under their belt against Vasco. They will now face FC Goa and Mumbai City FC in the lead up to the upcoming Hero ISL season.

Here’s the list of East Bengal FC’s pre-season fixtures and results:

DATE & VENUE

RESULTS & FIXTURES

15 October 2021, Goa

East Bengal FC 3-1 Vasco

16 October 2021, Goa

East Bengal FC 2-0 Salgaocar FC

20 October 2021, Goa

East Bengal FC 2-1 Gokulam Kerala FC

4 November 2021, Goa

East Bengal FC VS FC Goa

5 November 2021, Goa

East Bengal FC VS FC Goa

14 November 2021, Goa

East Bengal FC VS Mumbai City FC

Northeast United FC

The Highlanders began their pre-season in mid-September but are yet to play any friendlies, compared to other teams.

NorthEast United had a season to remember in the Hero ISL 2020-21 edition, making a great comeback under interim coach Khalid Jamil to reach the semi-finals after a run of poor results. And after further bolstering their squad this season, the Highlanders would look to carry on from where they left.

ATK Mohun Bagan 

The Mariners last played in the 2021 AFC Cup Inter-Zone Semi-finals on 22nd September, where they lost to Uzbekistan’s FC Nasaf, following which the players were released for a short break. ATK Mohun Bagan began their pre-season training camp on 18th October.

The complete Hero ISL 2021-22 Fixtures.

More to follow...

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