When the going gets tough: Longest winless runs for every Hero ISL team

Maintaining a high level of game in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) is no mere feat, with few teams often going on a winning spree, or an unbeaten run - like Kerala Blasters FC when they were unbeaten for 10 matches. On the contrary, ISL teams have been through rough patches, where it took them a herculean effort to break a winless run.

Mumbai City FC recently equalled their longest winless streak of 7 matches after a 1-1 draw against ATK Mohun Bagan in the previous game, sparking curiousity on how far each club has gone without a win.

Let us have a look at the longest winless streaks ever in the history of the Hero ISL for each club:

ATK Mohun Bagan - 4-match streak

The Mariners’ longest winless streak surfaced in the ongoing season, when they failed to win four matches in a row. The green and maroon brigade trumped arch-rivals SC East Bengal 3-0 in the Kolkata derby in their second game of the season, following which they were hammered 1-5 by Mumbai City FC in the next game. It took them another three matches to finally log full points in a 3-2 win over NorthEast United FC.

FC Goa - 6-match streak

The Gaurs have gone through a couple of 6-match winless streaks, which is pretty shocking given the consistency they have shown over the years. In the previous season, FC Goa were winless for six matches at a stretch, which dented their title aspirations to certain extent, but eventually finished in the top four.

However, the loss against Mumbai City FC in semi-final first leg was the start of yet another winless streak for them, as the Goa-based side only managed to win in their fourth match of the season against SC East Bengal (4-3 win in FC Goa’s favour).

Mumbai City FC - 7-match (ongoing)

The Islanders had already witnessed a 7-match win-drought back in the ISL 2015 - the second season of the competition. But, no one would have expected them to match it up once again in the ongoing season, when they were backed heavily to defend their title. Rahul Bheke’s late winner against Channaiyin FC was the last time Mumbai City FC bagged three points. Des Buckingham’s side have failed to win for seven matches now, after the 1-1 draw against ATK Mohun Bagan.

Bengaluru FC - 9-match streak

The team which was reputed to bag at least a single trophy in each season, slumped to something uncharacteristic during the 2020-21 season, as they were desperately searching for a win midway through the competition. Following their 2-1 win over Odisha FC, the Blues bumped into a barren run, as their winless streak ended with a 2-0 victory over SC East Bengal towards the end of the season. The former champions finished at the seventh spot that season.

Chennaiyin FC - 9-match streak

The two-time champions were well off target during the 2020-21 season, which was marked by a nine-match winless streak. It all started after a 2-1 win over Odisha FC, where they played out a 1-1 draw against Kerala Blasters FC in Match 63 of the season.

Chennaiyin FC failed to register even a single win in that season and went on to finish at the eighth spot in the league table. However, they broke the 9-match winless jinx in their opening game of the Hero ISL 2021-22 campaign with a 1-0 victory over Hyderabad FC.

Jamshedpur FC - 9-match streak

The Red Miners have been running hot and cold since they joined the Hero ISL and it was towards the end of the Hero ISL 2019-20 season that they went through the worst. It was a 1-4 loss against Chennaiyin FC in Match 65 that started a winless run, which was broken with a 2-1 win over ATK Mohun Bagan the following season.

Odisha FC - 10-match streak

It took a huge beating for Odisha FC to bring up their first win of the season, when they defeated Kerala Blasters FC 4-2, in their ninth game of the season. The team was held to a 0-0 draw against Chennaiyin FC in the following game, which was the start of a disappointing chapter in the club’s history.

Their next win came in the last game of the season in a 11-goal thriller, where they defeated SC East Bengal 6-5 and bowed out with something to cheer about. The 10-match winless streak remains their worst ever phase till date, as they ended up at the bottom of the points table with just two wins in the entire Hero ISL 2020-21.

NorthEast United FC - 14-match streak

Much was expected from NorthEast United FC after their first ever top-four finish during the 2018-19 season. However, they failed to replicate the same in the next outing. The Highlanders did enough to beat debutants Odisha FC and Hyderabad FC in their second and fourth game of the season respectively, but what followed was a heartbreak for their fans.

They failed to bag three points in any of their remaining matches that season and finished at the ninth spot in the league table, just above bottom-placed Hyderabad FC. However, they put an end to their 14-match winless streak in their opening game of the Hero ISL 2020-21 season, as they edged past Mumbai City FC 1-0.

Kerala Blasters FC - 14-match streak

For a team which has been runners-up a couple of times, it was torrid time during the Hero ISL 2018-19. Even though Kerala Blasters FC started with a remarkable 2-0 away win over ATK in the season opener, things went downhill for them following that. It all started with a 1-1 draw against Mumbai City FC in Match 7 of the season.

It was towards the end of the season that the Blasters scripted their second and also the last win of the campaign, with a 3-0 victory over Chennaiyin FC in Match 70 of the Hero ISL 2018-19, thus ending a 14-match winless streak.

Hyderabad FC - 14-match streak

It was a forgettable debut season for Hyderabad FC in the Hero ISL 2019-10, having finished at the bottom of the points table, with just two wins to their name. However, what pricked them the most was the 14-match winless streak which spanned throughout a large chunk of the season. It was on November 2, 2019 that Hyderabad FC registered their first ever ISL win.

They played out a 1-1 draw against NorthEast United FC in the following one - Match 16 of the Hero ISL 2019-20, which marked the beginning of a winless streak. It was in their last game of the same season that the debutants scripted their second win ever, in a 5-1 demolition over NorthEast United FC, thus ending their streak.

SC East Bengal - 15-match streak

Not the chart SC East Bengal would have liked to top, but unfortunately their topsy-turvy ride since their arrival on the big stage have put them right up there. The 15-match winless run was spread across two seasons. It all started with their 1-1 draw against Hyderabad FC, in Match 91 of the Hero ISL 2020-21, with SC East Bengal failing to register a single win till the end of the season.

Cut to next season, it took a revamped red and gold brigade nine matches to register their first victory, with 2-1 win over FC Goa in match 57 of Hero ISL 2021-22, thus ending a win-drought, which lasted almost a year. It was their first win since they defeated Jamshedpur FC 2-1 in the previous season!

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