Gameweek 1 wrap: ATK Mohun Bagan make Hero ISL bow, NorthEast and Hyderabad secure wins
Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 kicked off on November 20 and five matches into the season, it’s safe to say that we are in for an exciting season ahead. There were plenty of action-packed games in the opening gameweek and some surprising results as well. Four of the five matches so far saw one team claim maximum points, while FC Goa and Bengaluru FC were involved in an exhilarating draw that saw the Gaurs come from two goals down to earn a point. Here, we look at some of the highlights from the week gone by.
ATK Mohun Bagan make their Hero ISL bow
ATK Mohun Bagan finally made their much-awaited Hero ISL debut in the curtain raiser of the 2020-21 season against Kerala Blasters FC. The Kolkata giants made a winning start to life in the Hero ISL with Roy Krishna scoring his first goal for the club. Kerala Blasters kept threatening the Mariners’ defence but their experienced backline of Pritam Kotal, Prabir Das, Tiri and Sandesh Jhingan kept things tight and ensured that ATK Mohun Bagan won the contest.
Hyderabad FC, NorthEast United FC win opening fixtures
Hyderabad FC, led by Manuel Marquez, fielded a revamped team with new foreign and Indian players getting their debuts. Hyderabad skipper Aridane Santana scored from the spot and helped his team to a 1-0 win over Odisha. This was also the first time Hyderabad had managed to beat Odisha and keep a clean sheet in the Hero ISL. The likes of Akash Mishra and especially Liston Colaco also shone for Hyderabad and the duo look like they could have a big role to play for their club this season.
NorthEast United FC produced a disciplined performance against Mumbai City FC, beating the Islanders 1-0 in both team’s first game of the campaign. Two debutants were involved in the goal after Kwesi Appiah converted a penalty won by defender Dylan Fox. Having gone into the contest as underdogs, Gerard Nus’ men showed tremendous spirit and heart as they fought tirelessly for the entire 90 minutes to secure maximum points while also registering a clean sheet against Mumbai’s star-studded attack.
FC Goa’s Igor Angulo ready to take on Corominas’ mantle
FC Goa too began a new era under the guidance of Spanish head coach Juan Ferrando. One of his big acquisitions for Hero ISL 2020-21 was striker Igor Angulo, who had the unenviable task of replacing Ferran Corominas. Even though he had big shoes to fill, Angulo didn’t disappoint. He scored two important goals against Bengaluru FC to help the Gaurs draw the match after being 2-0 down. His goals aside, Angulo was a constant threat to the Blues’ defence and that’s likely to be a running theme for the rest of the season against other opposition backlines.
Owen Coyle’s Jamshedpur FC suffer defeat at the hands of Chennaiyin FC
With former Chennaiyin FC head coach Owen Coyle and their top-scorer from last season Nerijus Valskis now a part of Jamshedpur FC, the Marina Machans weren’t expected to emerge with maximum points from the encounter by many. However, goals from Anirudh Thapa – the first Indian goal-scorer this season – and Esmael Goncalves meant that Chennaiyin emerged victorious despite Valskis scoring a consolation goal for Jamshedpur. Thapa’s goal – the fastest in Hero ISL history by a Chennaiyin player – meant that it was the fourth time in seven seasons that a Marina Machans player was the first Indian to net a goal in the league.