Last-gasp: A look at the most late match-winning goals in ISL
The goals that helped their teams turn one point into three.
We often see in football how late comebacks and sudden turnarounds rescue a team from the verge of losing. The presence of mind, nanoseconds of somnolence, and hyperconsciousness in the nerviest moments can change the total dimension of the game within the blink of an eye.
Though football is a 90-minute game, sometimes the real climax waits for the dying minutes of the additional time. Giving his side a last-minute win is a dream, for any footballer, as it makes him the ultimate hero, sometimes the super-sub, whom the supporters remember for ages.
The Indian Super League (ISL) has also been bedecked with some of its roaring comebacks and last-minute winners in some thrilling matches over the year. Let’s revisit some dramatic comebacks in the ISL.
CK Vineeth (Kerala Blasters FC) vs FC Goa: 98 minutes 24 seconds (ISL 2016)
It was Kerala Blasters FC against FC Goa in the jampacked Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Kochi. FC Goa’s in-form Spanish forward Rafael Coelho scored the opener within the first 10 minutes with his brilliant header from Richarlyson’s free-kick. The hosts created some positive chances with Kervens Belfort and Mohammed Rafique but fell short of beating FC Goa’s goalkeeper, Laxmikant Kattimani.
But Steve Coppell’s men showed a quick reaction as they equalised within the first thirty seconds of the second half. Belfort levelled the score from the spot kick with his powerful right-footed shot.
The Yellow Army got a couple of chances next but failed to utilise the numerical advantage with FC Goa down to ten men. Kerala Blasters FC’s home-boy CK Vineeth scored the 99th-minute winner with his right-footed flick within the gathering inside the penalty box. The Manjappada brigade could not stop celebrating after their memorable victory over the Gaurs.
Ibson Melo (NorthEast United FC) vs Jamshedpur FC: 98 minutes 2 seconds (ISL 2023-24)
Playing on NorthEast United FC’s home turf, Jamshedpur FC was winning the match with Daniel Chima Chukwu’s goal by the end of 90 minutes. The Red Miners’ all-out defence strategy helped them prevent the Highlanders from scoring goals, but two late stoppage-time goals gave the hosts a decisive victory with a remarkable comeback.
Spanish defender Michel Zabaco found the late equaliser in the 94th minute, but the hosts were yet to put in more effort to bag all three points at home. The home side was awarded a penalty in the dying minute of added time, and Ibson Melo made no mistake in scoring a goal from the spot kick when it was the 98th minute off the clock.
The Highlanders’ dramatic comeback is surely a lesson for others, showing their fighting attitude till the last second in a nail-biting clash
Nerijus Valskis (Chennaiyin FC) vs Hyderabad FC: 95 minutes 52 seconds (ISL 2019-20)
ISL 2019-20’s Golden Boot winner Nerijus Valskis’s 96th-minute winner helped Chennaiyin FC beat Hyderabad FC in that season. But the scoreline didn't reflect the whole match. It was a goalless draw at the end of the 90th minute, as both teams were lacking in the final strike.
The Marina Machans had numerous chances with Lallianzuala Chhangte, Anirudh Thapa, and Valskis, but Hyderabad FC’s keeper Kamaljit Singh’s brilliant saves restricted them from getting the lead. In the second half, Chennaiyin FC showed more eagerness to score the opener on their home turf, but their efforts were denied twice by the crossbar.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 92nd minute as Andre Schembri scored for Chennayin FC with a decent right-footed strike. But John Gregory and his men could not enjoy their lead for very long as the visitor equalised within three minutes, showing an instant reaction.
But the deciding drama was yet to happen, as they got the victory through a supreme quality strike from Valskis in the 96th minute. Chennaiyin FC's hard-fought victory will be remembered for years.
Jay Gupta (FC Goa) vs Odisha FC: 95 minutes 17 seconds (ISL 2023-24)
This match is witness to two Spaniards’ tactical battle to edge past themselves in a crucial game in the ISL 2023–24. That match surely gave a spectator an adrenaline rush, as there was no shortage of action.
Former FC Goa defender Mourtada Fall scored the opening goal from a quality strike from Puitea’s free-kick. Though FC Goa started the second half with a goal down, they did not take much time to respond. Noah Sadaoui showed his composure from the penalty kick and levelled the score during the first quarter of the second half.
It was Sadaoui again who gave the Gaurs a lead in the 68th minute, but the slender lead did not last long as Fall scored again, levelling the score.
The match could have ended here, but FC Goa’s young full-back, Jay Gupta's, individual brilliance handed his team all three points. A smart turn, a little drop of his shoulder, and a stunning left-footed strike in the 96th minute resulted in his brilliant goal, which became the decider at the end of the game.
Nandhakumar Sekar (Odisha FC) vs Chennaiyin FC: 95 minutes 7 seconds (ISL 2022-23)
Odisha FC showcased their resilience over Chennaiyin FC with a last-moment strike in Bhubaneswar. In a five-goal thriller, it was full of ups and downs. But in the end, Josep Gombau's team’s do-or-die attitude helped them win the game.
Odisha FC went ahead in the match with an own goal from Chennaiyin FC’s Vafa Hakhamaneshi in the 31st minute. The hosts doubled their lead with Diego Mauricio’s well-directed penalty kick, but there were plenty of events remaining.
Chennaiyin FC’s Abdenasser El Khayati emerged as a super-sub as his brace levelled the score. It was in the 94th minute when El Khayati scored the equaliser from the penalty spot, but the hosts left no stone unturned to change the result in favour of themselves.
Odisha FC’s No. 11, Nandhakumar Sekar, did the impossible with a right-footed, well-measured strike that found the top right corner, giving not a single chance to Chennaiyin FC’s custodian, Debjit Majumder.