Gameweek 18 Wrap: Chennaiyin trump Mumbai for semis spot, goalfests, late dramas and more

The Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 league phase ended on a memorable note with Gameweek 18 concluding the top four race and producing a massive 23 goals in total. Looking back, here are the highlights the final gameweek of the league phase had to offer.

Hyderabad down NorthEast to notch up first-ever away win

The first game of the Gameweek pitted ninth-placed NorthEast United FC against bottom-placed Hyderabad FC at Guwahati. Hyderabad came into the match with just a single win under their belt - a 2-1 home victory over Kerala Blasters FC. Playing their final match of the campaign, Hyderabad put on an impressive show as they beat the Highlanders 5-1, courtesy braces from Liston Colaco and Marcelo Pereira and Mohammed Yasir's maiden Hero ISL goal. The win marked Hyderabad's first-ever win on the road in the Hero ISL but also brought to an end their 14-match winless run.

Chennaiyin complete amazing turnaround

With the final semi-final slot on the line, Mumbai City FC hosted Chennaiyin FC in a crunch tie at the Mumbai Football Arena last Friday. Both sides went into the match knowing a win will confirm them a top four spot and complete the set. After a tightly fought contest, the match came to a poetic conclusion with former Islanders captain Lucian Goian scoring a late winner in Chennaiyin shirt to knock out his former team and secure the coveted spot for the Marina Machans. The result also completed Chennaiyin's miraculous turnaround under new head coach Owen Coyle. When the Irishman took over six matches in, Chennaiyin were languishing near the bottom half of the table with just five points. The enigmatic head coach rallied his team brilliantly as Chennaiyin now find themselves with a shot at the title.

Goal-laden dramatic draws

The two matches over the weekend saw two goalfests, which eventually ended in draws. Bengaluru FC and ATK FC locked horns on Saturday as the Blues raced to a two-goal lead at half time. Carles Cuadrat’s men held onto their two-goal lead until the 86th minute until substitute Edu Garcia pulled a goal back for ATK. Another second half substitute, Michael Soosairaj, found the leveller in the dying moments of the game to salvage a draw for Antonio Lopez Habas’ men.

Sunday’s match between Odisha FC and Kerala Blasters FC saw another stalemate play out, but with double the number of goals. After a topsy-turvy first half, Odisha found themselves with a 4-2 advantage, courtesy a hat-trick by Manuel Onwu. Kerala, though, never gave up and drew level through two Bartholomew Ogbeche penalties in the 82nd minute and added time respectively to fashion out a 4-4 draw at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.

Tuesday’s match between NorthEast United FC and Chennaiyin also followed suit. NorthEast seemed en route to ending their long 13-match winless run in Hero ISL 2019-20 as they led a 10-man Chennaiyin 2-1 at the end of regulation time through a Martin Chaves brace. Lallianzuala Chhangte, however, had other ideas as he struck the equaliser in added time to deny the Highlanders a winning end to their Hero ISL 2019-20 campaign.

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