Hero ISL 2022-23: What to look forward to in Matchweek 16
As the business end of the Hero Indian Indian League (ISL) 2022-23 approaches, teams are going into Matchweek 16 with a lot at stake. The race for playoffs has intensified with teams pushing to wrap the season up with determination and style. With six games to go for some teams and seven for the other, every fixture will be crucial in determining the outcome of the league.
Matchweek 15 witnessed some surprising results as Chennaiyin FC halted Hyderabad FC's winning run. Jamshedpur FC earned their second victory of the season against East Bengal FC whereas Bengaluru FC collected a much-needed three points against Odisha FC.
Mumbai City FC kept their foot on the pedal and bagged all three points against ATK Mohun Bagan followed by NorthEast United FC sharing the spoils with FC Goa thereby concluding Matchweek 15.
Jamshedpur FC kick-off Matchweek 16 as the Red Miners host Bengaluru FC at JRD Tata Sports Complex, Jamshedpur followed by Mumbai City FC welcoming NorthEast United FC at the Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai.
East Bengal FC square off against Hyderabad FC at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata followed by a clash between Chennaiyin FC and ATK Mohun Bagan at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai. FC Goa will conclude Matchweek 15 in a battle with Kerala Blasters FC in one of the most anticipated fixtures of the week.
The Battle of Resurgence between Jamshedpur FC and Bengaluru FC
When these two teams met in the Sree Kanteerava Stadium earlier in the season, it was Simon Grayson's side who came on top. Bengaluru FC would be looking to repeat the same feat as they take on Aidy Boothroyd's side on the back of two successive victories.
Jamshedpur FC would be relying on their attacker Ritwik Das, who has three goals in the last two appearances while Simon Grayson would also expect his attacking force to exert their power on Jamshedpur FC's defence, who have conceded 25 goals in 14 matches till now. With Roy Krishna breaking his goal drought of ten matches in their win against Odisha FC, Grayson would be expecting his veteran striker to start firing.
In the Battle of David and Goliath, Mumbai City FC look to take down NorthEast United FC
Two teams from opposite ends of the league table meet at the Mumbai Football Arena, as Des Buckingham's men aim to display their free-flowing and attacking style of play while going for their 12th win of the season. Meanwhile, the Highlanders would be pushing for more points and climb further up the table.
Mumbai City FC came out as winners in the reverse fixture when the Islanders travelled to Guwahati with goals at the regular intervals, taking the game away from NorthEast United FC. Vincenzo Annese's men have displayed their hard work and strong mentality with the team scoring more goals under the new head coach. The Highlanders earned a point at home against FC Goa with the whole stadium cheering for the team as an example of how Annese has managed to get the fans believing in the team again after a turbulent period in the ongoing season.
The fixture brings us the highest and the lowest goal-scoring teams in the league, with the Islanders firing across all cylinders, racking up 41 goals, averaging 2.9 goals per match. On the other hand, NorthEast United FC have scored 13 goals in 14 matches, averaging 0.9 goals per match.
"We can create something special for the future," expressed Annese in the post-match conference after the draw against FC Goa.
Can East Bengal FC salvage their playoffs hopes against Hyderabad FC
When the two sides met in December in the reverse fixture, Hyderabad FC took all three points at the G.M.C Balayogi Athletic Stadium in Hyderabad. Stephen Constantine's men would be looking for a motivated performance against Hyderabad FC as the defending champions dropped points against Chennaiyin FC after five consecutive wins.
For Hyderabad FC, the team would be looking to continue their fine away record, with five of their ten victories coming on the road. The fixture is going to be an exciting clash as Cleiton Silva will look to consolidate his place at the top of the goalscoring charts with nine goals whereas Bartholomew Ogbeche will aim to score more goals to add to his existing tally of seven.
Stephen Constantine would look to benefit from the injury news in the opposition camp, with Hyderabad FC's captain Joao Victor and Chinglensana Singh still recovering from the injuries. Manolo Marquez stated that the team is difficult to beat even when they are not in a good moment in the post-match conference of the last fixture.
Chennaiyin FC facing ATK Mohun Bagan on their way to playoffs
In the reverse fixture, Chennaiyin FC came out on top with a scoreline of 2-1. The Marina Machans would be looking to repeat the same feat which will see them go within touching distance of the playoff spots, with only one point margin between them and sixth-placed FC Goa. ATK Mohun Bagan sit in fourth place and with a victory on Saturday, the Mariners can put their foot down in the playoffs race.
With only one loss in the last five matches, Chennaiyin FC look ready to withstand the challenges coming their way. Juan Ferrando would want his talisman Dimitri Petratos to add to his tally of 11 goal contributions in 13 matches. Further strengthening his side after the signing of midfielder Fedrico Gallego, the Spaniard will be hoping that his side will be capable of delivering after having his players return from injuries.
Revenge on cards for FC Goa against Kerala Blasters FC
Ivan Vukomanovic's men were triumphant over FC Goa in a 3-1 win earlier in the season. Kerala Blasters FC sit in the third spot in the Hero ISL points table, keeping their seat safe for the play-offs. This fixture can turn out to be a must-win fixture for Carlos Pena's men as the Goan side sits in the sixth place with just a four-point gap between them and seventh-placed Chennaiyin FC.
The Gaurs need to dig themselves out of this poor run of form which saw them earn only two points from the last four fixtures, resulting in them dropping to the last playoff spot. Carlos Pena would be hoping to see his attacking duo of Alvaro Vazquez and Noah Sadaoui return to the scoresheet, with both attackers failing to score in the last four matches. Moreover, Kerala Blasters FC would look to bounce back from their loss against Mumbai City FC, which put an end to their eight-game unbeaten run, a run of seven wins and one draw which saw them rise to the third spot in the Hero ISL points table.