How late goals and set pieces are shaping the Hero ISL 2019-20 narrative

Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 may be just 15 matches old, but it seems like there’s already a pattern emerging - one which entails the impact of late goals in the league so far. Not only do late strikes set up exhilarating climaxes to games, it also demonstrates how close the tussles between the clubs are this season, with none of the sides prepared to throw in the towel before the final whistle.

This can be further substantiated by the fact that of the 15 matches so far, we have had a definite winner in 10 of them, while three have ended goalless and the other two being scoring draws. However, the interesting observation to be made here is that from the 12 games which have seen a goal or more, the final results of six have been decided by a single goal which have come in the last 10 minutes and added time.

Here's the comprehensive list of late winners and equalisers in the matches so far:

Match 3: Jamshedpur FC 2-1 Odisha FC (Sergio Castel winner in 85th minute)

Match 5: Kerala Blasters FC 0-1 Mumbai City FC (Amine Chermiti winner in 82nd minute)

Match 7: NorthEast United FC 2-1 Odisha FC (Asamoah Gyan winner in 85th minute)

Match 9: FC Goa 1-1 Bengaluru FC (Ferran Corominas equaliser in stoppage time)

Match 13: NorthEast United FC 2-2 FC Goa (Manvir Singh equaliser in stoppage time)

Match 14: Hyderabad FC 2-1 Kerala Blasters FC (Marcelo Pereira winner in 81st minute)

Hence, in essence, the fate of 40% of the total matches so far have been decided through a goal coming post the 80-minute mark - a staggering number to say the least.

An even more interesting stat comes forth as we delve deeper, pertaining to the effect of set pieces. Of the four late winners and two equalisers mentioned above, four have come from set-pieces (Gyan’s winner vs Odisha - corner, Corominas’ equaliser from the spot against Bengaluru - penalty, Manvir’s equaliser vs NorthEast – free-kick, Marcelo Pereira’s winner vs Kerala Blasters FC - direct free -kick).

If we were to expand our sample and take all goals this season into account, it is revealed that of the 38 goals scored so far, 10 have come after the 80-minute mark. In other words, goals coming in the aforementioned time period has accounted for a total of a little more than 25% of the goals scored in a time frame which roughly accounts for 11% of the game-time we have had this season so far.

Late goals and drama have always been an intrinsic part of football, but the manner in which Hero ISL 2019-20 is playing out, gives the age-old adage 'it's never over until the fat lady sings' a whole new meaning.

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