Gameweek 14 Wrap: Late goals, Goa survive thrillers, Kalinga fortress breached
As the race to the top four in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 heats up with nine teams still vying for a coveted semi-final spot, Gameweek 14 turned out to be a crucial phase in the engrossing narrative. Taking a look back, here's a glimpse of the major talking points from the last round of matches.
Hyderabad deny Mumbai entry into top four
The Gameweek went underway with Mumbai City FC travelling to face bottom-placed Hyderabad FC in a bid to break into the top four. The Islanders needed a win to leapfrog Odisha FC into the fourth spot and seemed to be on track to achieve their objective after taking the lead on the 43rd minute through a Mohamed Larbi penalty and sustaining it right till the 90 minutes. Hyderabad, however, played spoilsport right at the end as they won a penalty and converted it in added time to hold Mumbai to a 1-1 draw, thereby denying them the three crucial points.
Goa-Kerala play out a thriller
As FC Goa and Kerala Blasters faced off at the Fatorda last Saturday, both teams had their respective agendas to serve. For Goa, it was the opportunity to get another win at home and strengthen their stake on the top spot in the table. For Kerala, meanwhile, a win was paramount to keep themselves relevant in the top-four race. Things, however, looked bleak for the latter as Goa scored two in the first half and led 2-0 at half time. Kerala fought back in the second period and seemed to have turned the tables as they erased the two-goal deficit thanks to strikes from Bartholomew Ogbeche and Messi Bouli. Goa, however, forced the tide back in the 83rd minute as Hugo Boumous scored his second of the night and the ultimate winner.
ATK break NorthEast’s resolve with a late goal
Sticking with the trend of late deciders, Monday's encounter between ATK FC and NorthEast United FC saw a 94th-minute winner. ATK's Balwant Singh came off the bench on the 90th minute and scored from a corner in stoppage time to finally break down the Highlanders' resolute stand for over 90 minutes. It was a crucial win for Antonio Lopez Habas' men in their pursuit to secure the top spot in the table.
Odisha's Kalinga fortress breached
Goa were engaged in their second thriller of the Gameweek on Wednesday as they beat Odisha FC 4-2 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. The Gaurs took a 3-0 lead at half-time but Odisha clawed their way back into the contest with a Manuel Onwu brace before the 65th minute. It took a late Ferran Corominas strike to seal the result in Gaurs' favour. For Odisha, it was their first points dropped at the Kalinga Stadium since they moved there four matches back. Prior to the loss, they had won all their three matches at the venue.
Nishu, Gurpreet keep Blues on toes of Goa, ATK
The defending champions had to apply that extra bit of effort to keep themselves in the race for the top spot of Hero ISL 2019-20. Nishu Kumar scored the only goal of the encounter – an absolute thunderbolt of an attempt in the seventh minute. However, following that strike, Bengaluru could hardly assert their control and had to call upon the services of their goalkeeper, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to keep their hopes of finishing top alive. Besides pulling off countless world-class saves, the India international also saved a penalty, thus further demonstrating his talent.