Matchweek 9 of the Indian Super League (ISL) had a lot to live up to after it rained goals in the previous matchweek. However, head coaches took a cue from the last round’s matches and managed to somewhat tighten their defences. 

Matchweek 9 began with two thrilling 2-2 draws between Mohun Bagan Super Giant and Odisha FC and Jamshedpur FC and Chennaiyin FC. It seemed Matchweek 9 was borrowing from Matchweek 8 script with both games following the same pattern. 

The away sides Odisha FC and Chennaiyin FC raced to two-goal leads at the interval before the home sides Mohun Bagan Super Giant and Jamshedpur FC hit back in the second half to level matters. 

Mumbai City FC who returned to ISL action after a month reminded the ISL of their quality as they swept aside Bengaluru FC 4-0 at the Sree Kanteerava stadium to put an end to Simon Grayson’s tenure as the Blues boss. 

East Bengal FC and Punjab FC then played out a goalless draw in Kolkata to put an end to the goal rush in the matchweek before Hyderabad FC and NorthEast United FC shared the spoils in Guwahati to end a matchweek that saw four out of the five matches end in draws.

As we quickly head into Matchweek 10, here’s a look at the key takeaways from Matchweek 9:

Mohun Bagan Super Giant lose perfect record

The Mariners lost their perfect record in the ISL this season but had to toil hard to save their unbeaten start to the campaign. Armando Sadiku’s goal in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time salvaged a point for the Kolkata giants who recovered from a disastrous first-half performance. 

Apart from Mohun Bagan SG’s unbeaten run, a few other streaks were upheld during the game. Sadiku’s late equaliser meant Odisha FC missed out on recording their first-ever win over the Mariners in the ISL. They have faced the Kolkata side on eight occasions and have never beaten them. It was also the third straight-away game in which the Kalinga Warriors failed to pick up full points when leading at half-time. Sergio Lobera’s side have now dropped ten points from winning position in the ISL this season, the most by any team. 

Juan Ferrando would be delighted to have taken a point from the game but it was another meeting against Lobera that he has failed to win. The Odisha FC head coach has never lost to his compatriot in five meetings. 

Frustration continues for Jamshedpur FC and Chennaiyin FC

Jamshedpur FC and Chennaiyin FC played out a 2-2 draw to get a point that didn’t do great benefit to either team’s ambitions of climbing up the table. Jamshedpur FC and Chennaiyin FC remain tenth and eighth respectively with just three wins among them in the ISL this season. 

The Red Miners would probably view it as a more positive point having come from two goals down to avoid defeat, a feat they have managed for the first time in 22 games where they have fallen behind by two goals but it is the second home game in a row that they have failed to win having scored two goals.  

Jamshedpur FC’s defence hasn’t stood up tall when the attack has fired and vice-versa and Scott Cooper will hope to get his two key departments firing together in one match. 

For Chennaiyin FC, it was the sixth time in ISL history that they have failed to win a match despite having a two-goal lead. They are now level with Kerala Blasters FC in this metric. Owen Coyle would want his team to steer clear of such unpleasant records. 

Mumbai City FC humbling the last straw for Simon Grayson

Mumbai City FC without a head coach after the departure of Des Buckingham showed no signs of weakness as they dispatched Bengaluru FC 4-0 on their own patch to deliver a statement of intent to their rivals. It was the 12th win by a margin of four or more goals for the Islanders, a league record. 

However, for Bengaluru FC who remained winless for a third straight ISL home game in a row -- their longest winless streak in Bengaluru, saw the end of head coach Simon Grayson’s reign. One win in nine matches and their heaviest home defeat in the ISL saw patience dry up in the Bengaluru FC board as they decided to part ways with the Englishman, who guided them to three finals last season. 

The Blues scripted a dramatic turnaround after a similar poor start to the ISL last season with Grayson leading the charge. They will hope they can pull off something similar this season but with a different head coach. 

Inconsistency haunts East Bengal FC again

East Bengal FC were favourites to claim three points when they hosted winless Punjab FC in Kolkata on Saturday especially having won their previous match 5-0. 

However, the Red and Gold brigade couldn’t replicate their performance against NorthEast United FC as a resolute Punjab FC frustrated the home side to eke out a goalless draw. 

The Red and Gold Brigade have never won back-to-back matches in the ISL and this lack of consistency is one of the main reasons why they have never qualified for the playoffs. 

Things are looking brighter for East Bengal FC under Carles Cuadrat but he will have to find ways to ensure his team performs at the same level in every game if they are to have a shot at challenging for honours come the end of the season.

Hyderabad FC's struggles continue

Hyderabad FC rescued a point against NorthEast United FC but once again failed in their attempt to pick up their first victory of the season. The Yellow and Blacks are now winless in 11 ISL matches, stretching back to last season, and sit bottom of the table in 2023-23 campaign.

Hyderabad FC also extended another unwanted steak as they are now winless in 15 ISL games after conceding first. Thangboi Singto's side were second best for a large part of the match and need to pick up the level of their performances in order to climb up the table. 

As for NorthEast United FC, it was a frustrating day at the office as they drew their fourth game of the campaign. Juan Pedro Benali's men need to convert these draws into wins to fuel their playoff bid.