Hero ISL 2022-23: What to look forward to in Matchweek 15
Through Matchweek 15, Hero Indian Super League (ISL) is nearing the business end of the season. In the top, the tripartite struggle is going on among Mumbai City FC, Hyderabad FC, Kerala Blasters FC for the League Winners' Shield. Whereas ATK Mohun Bagan, Odisha FC, FC Goa are looking to consolidate their playoff spots.
Thanks to Matchweek 14, the top six race got spicy due to Chennaiyin FC, East Bengal FC dropping points and Bengaluru FC gaining ground in the last week. The bottom placed teams Jamshedpur FC and NorthEast United FC would be keen to get something positive out of Matchweek 15 and upset few teams who are aiming for the playoffs.
Hyderabad FC kickoff Matchweek 15 against Chennaiyin FC at the G.M.C Balayogi Athletic Stadium in Hyderabad followed by East Bengal FC hosting Jamshedpur FC at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata. Saturday’s doubleheader will see Bengaluru FC welcome Odisha FC in Bengaluru, as they look to get two consecutive wins for the first time in this season and a mouthwatering game is expected later in the day as ATK Mohun Bagan host Mumbai City FC in Kolkata. In the concluding fixture of Matchweek 15, NorthEast United FC will host FC Goa at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati.
Hyderabad FC eye the top spot as Chennaiyin FC come calling
When these two teams met in the Marina Arena, it was Hyderabad FC who came up as the clear winner. This high-octane clash is tipped to be a high-scoring affair as Hyderabad FC and Chennaiyin FC are the second(27) and third(23) the goalscoring charts in the league and there is no doubt that their goalkeepers will have a tough day at the office.
On Thursday, all eyes will be on the latest hat-trick scorer Bartholomew Ogbeche, who is also the leading top scorer for the club (6) in this season, as he can propel Hyderabad FC to finish this matchweek at the top by getting all three points against the Marina Machans, as Mumbai City FC face a tricky fixture. This home fixture becomes more vital for Manulo Marquez's team as they are going to spend the next three matchweeks away from home.
All said and done, the task is not going to be easy for Hyderabad FC as they face resilient Chennaiyin FC. The comeback against Jamshedpur FC after going 0-2 down in the last match once again reiterated their character. While Ogbeche and Co can aim for all three points at the Gachibowli stadium, Peter Sliskovic might spoil their party. The target man has at least one goal contribution in seven out of the last eight games. The Akash Sangwan and Sliskovic combination is what the away team look to rely on in this fixture.
It’s now or never for East Bengal FC and Jamshedpur FC
In the reverse fixture, Naorem Mahesh Singh heroics helped the East Bengal FC to win the match, as he became the first Indian to give a hat-trick of assists in a single game. Six weeks later, two Englishmen are going against each other once again in a must-win match for both teams. A win is essential for East Bengal FC to be in the playoffs race and anything less than three points would make it very difficult for Jamshedpur FC to make the top six.
For East Bengal FC, Stephen Constantine has to find a way to win games without over relying on Cleiton Silva. The Brazilian scored eight goals out of 14 goals for the Red and Gold Brigade including three winners. The home side would hope to win this game in a new way.
On the other hand, Jamshedpur FC look like a different side with the addition of new players in the midfield in the last game against Chennaiyin FC. "We are getting better in plenty of aspects, Pronay Halder was good and he made the difference and brought the steel in the midfield and it is easy to see very quickly the qualities that Crivellaro will bring to us" said Aidy Boothroyd, who want to end the 10 match winless streak in Kolkata.
Revenge on cards for Bengaluru FC at the Kanteerava against Odisha FC
For Bengaluru FC, Siva (sakthi) Narayanan is expected to get the start once again ahead of Sunil Chhetri after his stellar performance in the last match. In the reverse fixture, Bengaluru FC gave a tough fight against Odisha FC but lost the game by a one-goal margin. Simon Grayson will try to convert the good performance into a positive result this time.
Odisha FC did themselves a favor by winning the last match against East Bengal FC, which put them in fifth place in the table. A win against the Blues may elevate them to third position and one step closer to their first-ever playoffs. Odisha FC will fancy doing the double over Bengaluru FC at their home, as their main striker, Diego Mauricio is peaking at the right time. The Brazilian scored four of his seven goals in the last two matches and his positivity seemed to spill over in the team as well.
"This will bring a lot of power for the next game for Mauricio. We need him. We need his goals. I am happy with his performance. I'm happy with the two very good goals. This will bring extra motivation to him and also confidence to all of us," said Josep Gombau.
Unbeaten Islanders face stern test against Mariners
The reverse fixture between Mumbai City FC and ATK Mohun Bagan at the Mumbai Football Arena is arguably the best football match in the Hero ISL in recent years. The 2-2 scoreline didn't do justice to the game, which involved a total of 35 shots. This game had everything: end-to-end action, shots hitting the crossbar, red and yellow cards, and late goals. The fans are expecting to get a similar drama in 2023.
ATK Mohun side are coming after a two-week break. From the home side's point of view, the focus point of this fixture is how Juan Ferrando is going to assemble the foreign contingent. The arrival of Slavko Damjanovic and Federico Gallego added a new dimension to Ferrando's side. A win against Mumbai City FC is significant for ATK Mohun Bagan as they are yet to get their first win against the Islanders in Hero ISL
Des Buckingham side is high on confidence after their huge 4-0 win against Kerala Blasters FC. The biggest advantage for the table toppers is their goal scoring ability as they netted 40 goals so far. But how this attacking force led by Jorge Perera Diaz is going to breach the formidable home side, who have the second-best defence (12) is where the match is going to be decided.
Carlos Pena is expecting a solution for his headache
In December, FC Goa beat NorthEast United FC with the score line 2-1 at Fatorda. Since then, the Guars played three matches and were winless in all of them. For the Highlanders, it was the first proper match under the new head coach Vincenzo Alberto Annese and they won one and lost two matches after that clash.
FC Goa are currently at the sixth position with 19 points. The biggest headache for Carlos Pena is their non-firing attacking duo. Both Noah Sadaoui and Alvaro Vazquez are in dry spell as they failed to net even a single goal in the last four matches. The fans expect their team to make use of their possession in a productive manner in this fixture.
NorthEast United FC are playing a different style of football under Annese which is more attacking and expansive. Though they are getting goals under this style (7), they are conceding a lot in return under the Italian. The Highlanders have conceded 17 goals in just five games under him, which is 3.4 goals per match. This fixture won't be an easy lesson for the club from the North East of India in their already difficult season.