A look back: Special Hero ISL moments which made 2018 memorable

With 2018 coming to an end, it's safe to say 'what a year it has been' in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL). Breath-taking football, action, drama, records - you name it, and 2018 had it all. As we brace ourselves and our anticipations for the year to come, it's imperative we look back one last time to relive some of these memorable snippets from a truly memorable year in the Hero ISL.

Here, we take you through a cruise back in time to reminisce about some of the special moments from the Hero ISL in 2018.

Chennaiyin upset Bengaluru to clinch Hero ISL 2017-18

Going into the Hero ISL 2017-18 final at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on March 17, 2018, Sunil Chhetri-led Bengaluru FC were the favourites to walk away with the title in their inaugural season in the league. After all, the Blues had finished top of the table in the league stage and virtually looked invincible throughout the season. Furthermore, the Blues were playing the final in their own backyard with one of the most ruthless home support egging them on. Bengaluru had the look of champions even before a ball was kicked and it seemed the official coronation would be just a matter of time after Chhetri gave them an early lead. But the events after that unfolded in the most unexpected fashion. Inspired by captain Mailson Alves, Chennaiyin FC came from behind to beat Bengaluru 3-2 and win their second Hero ISL title.

ATK, Kerala kick off the new season

On September 29, two-time champions ATK kicked off the fifth edition of the Hero ISL at home against arch-rivals Kerala Blasters FC. Both sides had forgettable outings in the 2017-18 season and were eager to make an early mark in the opening day of the new season. It was the Blasters who came out on top with a 2-0 away win over the Kolkata giants and laid the foundation for yet another fascinating season of enthralling football.

Ogbeche’s hat-trick vs Chennaiyin

NorthEast United FC made a strong start to the Hero ISL 2018-19 thanks in large parts to one Bartholomew Ogbeche. Signed only in August, the 34-year-old took just three matches to sound his arrival in India, scoring a 10-minute hat-trick against reigning champions Chennaiyin FC and almost singlehandedly led the Highlanders to a victory in a 4-3 thriller. It was the first hat-trick of the season and also one of the best individual performances the league has ever witnessed.

Tim Cahill’s first Hero ISL goal

Before the season started, Jamshedpur FC made a big statement by roping in Australian football legend Tim Cahill. The Socceroos great is regarded as one of the best headers of the ball in modern football and India tasted its first piece of Cahill magic on October 29 at the JRD TATA Sports Complex in Jamshedpur. The Aussie opened his account in the Hero ISL with a magnificent headed goal against Kerala in front of an ecstatic home crowd and obviously, the trademark corner flag boxing celebration followed.

Lothar Matthaus visits India

Germany and Bayern Munich legend Lothar Matthaus arrived in India as part of a three-day Bundesliga Legends tour in early December and was immediately impressed with what he saw. The legendary World Cup-winning captain was also optimistic about India’s chances at the upcoming AFC Asian Cup and expressed his admiration of the way football in India has been developing over the past few years.

Corominas equals Hume’s scoring record

FC Goa’s Ferran Corominas has firmly established himself as one of the most feared strikers in the Hero ISL, thanks to his extraordinary goal-scoring prowess. Playing in only his second Hero ISL campaign, the 35-year-old Spaniard joined FC Pune City’s Iain Hume at the top of Hero ISL’s all-time goal-scoring chart after bagging a brace in a 5-1 win over NorthEast United FC on December 14. Watching the little magician at work has been a joy for every football fan, and there’s surely more to come.

Chencho’s worldie

The Hero ISL has witnessed its share of brilliant goals over the years, but the match between Bengaluru FC and NorthEast United FC on December 5 bore witness to a strike which will be talked about by Hero ISL fans for ages to come. With time running out and the Blues staring at their first defeat of the season, up stepped Bengaluru striker Chencho Gyeltshen and came up with a moment of sheer class. The 22-year-old reacted the quickest and left the ground to execute a sweet bicycle kick to equalise for Bengaluru late in the match. What made the goal even more special was the fact that it was the Bhutanese striker's first goal in the Hero ISL. What a way to introduce himself!

Record-breaking Modou Sougou

The year's final Hero ISL match between Mumbai City FC and Kerala Blasters was a night to remember for both Mumbai and neutral football fans. Mumbai striker Modou Sougou put up a masterclass and scripted history by becoming the first player to score four goals in a single Hero ISL match, giving 2018 the perfect conclusion it deserved.

Do you have a personal favourite of your own? Tell us in the comments below.

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