Gameweek 20 Wrap: ATK Mohun Bagan flex muscles; FC Goa, NorthEast and Hyderabad FC stay in the semis hunt
Gameweek 20 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 saw the battle for the top-four spots intensify in a big way. There were also plenty of goals scored over the past gameweek. It also witnessed the second Kolkata derby of the season and it lived up to its billing with both teams playing their part in what was an entertaining match. Here, we take a look at some major highlights from Gameweek 20.
Hyderabad thump Kerala for biggest win of the season
Hyderabad FC put on a second half clinic to blow away Kerala Blasters FC by smashing four unanswered goals past them. The Blasters were good in the first half and could have even scored with a bit of luck and better finishing. However, Hyderabad emerged a transformed side in the second half and hit four goals past Kerala’s hapless defence which invited pressure on themselves through mistakes at the back. A couple of lapses by Bakary Kone resulted in two goals for Fran Sandaza before late goals from Aridane Santana and Joao Victor put the icing on the cake. The win boosted Hyderabad semi-final hopes, while Kerala decided to part ways with head coach Kibu Vicuna shortly after the match.
FC Goa snap run of draws with important win against Odisha
Aware of Hyderabad’s win the previous night, FC Goa knew that they had to get maximum points against Odisha FC. They went into the match on the back of a 10-match unbeaten run, but their past six games had all ended in draws, making it imperative for them to register a win over Odisha. Goals from Alberto Noguera and Jorge Ortiz had put the Gaurs in a good position and even though Diego Mauricio pulled one back for the Bhubaneswar-based club, an Ivan Gonzalez strike in the second period secured the three point for FC Goa and ended their run of six straight draws to boost their semis hopes.
NorthEast salvage late point to be level on points with top-four rivals
NorthEast United FC’s clash against Chennaiyin FC was the most entertaining fixture of the past gameweek as the two teams played out a six-goal thriller. Lallianzuala Chhangte had given the Marina Machans an early lead before Imran Khan levelled the score for the Highlanders. NorthEast then took the lead through Deshorn Brown before the break but a Manuel Lanzarote penalty and Chhangte’s second goal of the night reestablished the two-time champions’ lead, putting them on course for a win. However, NorthEast kept fighting till the final whistle and were rewarded with a late penalty that Luis Machado converted to rescue a point, which put the Highlanders level on points with Hyderabad and Goa in the standings.
ATK Mohun Bagan secure bragging rights, stay on top
The highly anticipated Kolkata derby lived up to the hype as ATK Mohun Bagan got the better of arch-rivals SC East Bengal for the second time this season. The Mariners took the lead through talisman Roy Krishna before a Tiri own goal restored parity for SC East Bengal. ATK Mohun Bagan though were not going to be denied and came out for the second half intent on the win. Krishna once again proved to be the difference-maker despite not scoring himself in the second period. The Fijian striker set up David Williams for the Mariners’ second and did brilliantly to provide the assist for substitute Javier Hernandez’s goal as well to help ATK Mohun Bagan beat their local rivals and stay on top of the table.
Jamshedpur FC spoil Mumbai City FC’s party
Mumbai City’s aspirations of finishing the league stage as leaders took a massive blow after Jamshedpur FC blanked them 2-0 in the last match of the gameweek on Saturday. New signing Boris Singh and David Grande hit the back of the net to keep their slim hopes alive in the league, however, if truth be told they are more or less out of the semis race. With two matches to go for either leaders ATK Mohun Bagan and Mumbai City and five points separating them, the Islanders will now hope the Mariners stumble in their next two games to give them a chance. It may be noted, both of these teams have already qualified for the semis.