Key Hero ISL 2019-20 fixtures to look forward to in January and February
With the short New Year break coming to an end, the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 takes centre stage once more from January 3, with some mouth-watering footballing action in store for the fans as the season nears its business end. A total of 41 fixtures remain till we reach the semi-final stages, with the next two months set to decide the final four contenders for this season's title.
Here, we take a look at some of the key fixtures to look forward to in January and February.
The Hero ISL action resumes on January 3 with a cracker of a clash between Bengaluru FC and FC Goa - the two finalists from last season. With Goa leading the table and Bengaluru very much in the top four, expect both teams to go all out in a bid to get one over the other, making it an intriguing contest. Right on its heels, on January 4, Mumbai City FC host ATK FC in another clash between two of the current top four teams. ATK, currently second on the standings, are being regarded as one of the favourites while the Islanders are on a six-match unbeaten run.
Fast forward to January 12 and fans will see one of the biggest traditional rivalries of the Hero ISL revisited for the first time in 2020 as ATK host Kerala Blasters FC. With the two sides in two ends of the table, it's unlikely that the fixture may have any telling effect in the top four race but a clash between these two, go beyond league positions.
January 17 will see another very intriguing contest on offer with Mumbai City FC playing hosts to reigning champions Bengaluru FC. The tussle between the two have been slowly garnering steam in the last two seasons with the Islanders proving a bogey team for Bengaluru. Mumbai have twice broken Bengaluru's unbeaten streak, first last season and then by handing the Blues their first defeat of the 2019-20 campaign in the reverse fixture back in December. With both sides having proven themselves as strong contenders for the top four, the tie holds some added significance too. The very next day, ATK and Goa lock horns in Kolkata in another tussle of two of the top four favourites. With tensions running high in the reverse fixture at Fatorda, expect the embers to be carried forward for this crunch tie as well. On January 27, we have the Eastern Derby to behold as ATK and NorthEast prepare to do battle.
February – the month of derbies
Carrying on from where we left off in January, the action in February gets underway with a classic South Indian Derby between Kerala Blasters FC and Chennaiyin FC on the 1st, followed by an Eastern Derby between ATK and Jamshedpur FC the very next day.
February 9, meanwhile, will see another Southern rivalry taking centre stage with Chennaiyin hosting Bengaluru FC in a battle of two former champions. Keeping with the theme, February 15 will have yet another Southern Derby in store, this time between Kerala Blasters FC and Bengaluru FC. With the war of words between head coaches, Eelco Schattorie and Carles Cuadrat, which followed the two's last meeting, fans can expect some added zing to this already high-intensity clash
The very next day, ATK and Chennaiyin - the two most successful clubs in the league's history cross swords at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata. Capping off this highly-summarized list here is the Bengaluru vs ATK tie on February 22nd.
You can check out the full fixture list here.