ISL 2023-24: Things to watch out for in Matchweek Two
There are few mouth-watering fixtures scheduled in Matchweek two and teams will look to log points early on and gain momentum going forward.
There was plenty of hype and excitement surrounding the 10th season of the Indian Super League (ISL) and Matchweek one of the 2023-24 season certainly did not disappoint. Just one of the five Matchweek games ended in a draw, with the likes of Kerala Blasters FC, Mohun Bagan Super Giant, Odisha FC and Mumbai City FC recording wins.
FC Goa and Hyderabad FC, who were not involved in Matchweek one after their fixture in Hyderabad was postponed, will be in action in Matchweek Two alongside other clubs. There are few mouth-watering fixtures scheduled in Matchweek two and teams will look to log points early on and gain momentum going forward. The first fixture of Matchweek two will see defending ISL Cup winners Mohun Bagan Super Giant take on last season’s finalists Bengaluru FC and will conclude with Kerala Blasters FC taking on Jamshedpur FC in Kochi on Sunday.
With that, here are the things that you should watch out for in Matchweek two.
Bengaluru FC and Mohun Bagan SG resume rivalry
In what will be a repeat of last season’s final, Bengaluru FC and Mohun Bagan SG’s match will arguably be the most anticipated one in Matchweek two. The fixture holds huge importance, not only for the two clubs, but also their respective fan bases. And over the past few seasons, matches between these two sides have turned out to be heated and closely-contested.
Mohun Bagan SG and Bengaluru FC are well aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses, making it an interesting tactical battle. Both sides recorded a win against each other last season, but surprisingly, the three points came away from home. The ISL 2022-23 final was another see-saw battle where the Mariners opened the scoring, but equalised at the death after Bengaluru FC took a 2-1 lead. Juan Ferrando’s side held their nerves in the penalty shootout to win the ISL Cup. Fans could be in for another thrilling game as the two sides lock horns in Kolkata.
Odisha FC's Sergio Lobera goes up against former side Mumbai City FC
As Odisha FC play their second straight game at the Kalinga Stadium, it will be an emotional fixture for head coach Lobera, who goes up against his former club Mumbai City FC. Lobera spent just one season with Mumbai City FC during the 2020-21 campaign, but achieved an unprecedented feat, becoming the first head coach to win the ISL Cup and the Shield in the same season.
Mumbai City FC appointed Des Buckingham after Lobera’s departure and the Islanders have made tremendous progress under the Englishman, particularly last season, where they lifted the Shield in dominant fashion. With Lobera in charge of his third team in the ISL, the Spanaird will have a point to prove against his former employers.
Home boost for Gaurs
With FC Goa opening game against Hyderabad FC away being postponed, the Gaurs will begin their ISL campaign at home against Punjab FC at the Fatorda Stadium. The first game of the season can always be tricky, but FC Goa will be confident of putting on a good show in front of their home fans under the tutelage of Manolo Marquez.
Not only will the hosts have a fair idea of how the Shers could set up going by their match against Punjab FC, but they also have the home advantage in their favour. FC Goa may have not made it to the ISL playoffs for the past two seasons, but the Fatorda Stadium has always been a tough venue for teams. It won’t be any different for newly-promoted Punjab FC, who will be looking to put their defeat to MBSG behind them.