MW16 Takeaways: Hyderabad FC qualify for playoffs, FC Goa surge to fifth place, and more

Matchweek 16 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season offered some decisive results as we head into the crunch period of the campaign. The race for the League Winners’ Shield is still going strong, and teams are battling it out for the playoffs spots.

13 goals were scored across five games that included the second goalless draw of the season. Hyderabad FC returned to winning ways and became the second team to qualify for the playoffs this season.

Matchweek 16 began with Bengaluru FC registering a comprehensive 3-0 win over Jamshedpur FC away from home.

Up next, league leaders Mumbai City FC continued their blistering form with a comfortable 4-0 win against NorthEast United FC on their home soil. In Kolkata, defending Champions Hyderabad FC completed their double over East Bengal with a 2-0 win as they tasted their first-ever victory at the Salt Lake Stadium.

Meanwhile, Chennaiyin FC and ATK Mohun Bagan shared the spoils as they played out a 0-0 draw on Saturday. FC Goa concluded Matchweek 16 in a convincing 3-1 victory over Kerala Blasters FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa.

With the thrilling climax almost upon us, here are the key takeaways from matchweek 16

Bengaluru FC gaining momentum with three wins in a row

The Blues have picked up their form recently as they registered yet another win, this time against Jamshedpur FC. They made it three in a row with an impressive 3-0 victory over Jamshedpur FC, courtesy of goals from Rohit Kumar, Roy Krishna, and Sivasakthi Narayanan.

It was a vital win for Bengaluru, who have some tough assignments coming up. This also keeps their top-six ambitions alive.

Meanwhile, the misery continues for the defending League Shield Winners, as they were thoroughly outclassed by the Blues on Wednesday and were left in the bottom half of the ISL.

With five more matches to play, the Men of Steel can only hope to finish the season with some pride and put up some fighting spirit in their remaining matches.

Mumbai City FC flex muscles in a decisive  victory

Another day, another record for the Islanders as they became the first Hero ISL side to register ten consecutive wins in a season.

A dominant first-half performance was enough for the home side as they cruised to a 4-0 win over bottom-placed NorthEast United FC.

Des Buckingham has infused a wave of positive feelings in his side and there are a lot of flairs in Mumbai’s gameplay. This is the second time in the last three games they have scored four goals in the opening half itself.

Despite being down to 10 men, the Highlanders showed some resilience in the second half but that wasn’t enough against their mighty opponents.

Hyderabad FC book  playoffs berth

In another must-win encounter, we saw the visitors having an upper hand over the host for the majority of the game. Javier Siverio gave an early lead to Hyderabad FC with a cushioning header while Aaren D'Silva extended the score line in the dying minutes of the game.

With this win, Hyderabad FC remained second as they head into a break and will be up against unbeaten Mumbai City FC in Matchweek 18, which could be the decider of the ultimate winner of the League Shield.

East Bengal FC's league position of 9th after 14 games is a cause of concern for head coach Stephen Constantine. The Red and Gold Brigade were once again slow in the build-up and lacked creativity in the final third. This gameplay resulted in a third successive defeat for East Bengal.

Chennaiyin FC and ATK Mohun Bagan have to sort out their forms

Chennaiyin FC and ATK Mohun Bagan FC came into the game searching for a win. Instead, the match ended in a goalless draw as both teams botched it to move upwards in the league table.

The host dominated the early stages of the game while the visitors had to rely on set-piece opportunities. Both teams created several goal-scoring opportunities but were equally matched by the two goalkeepers.

This was Chennaiyin’s third consecutive draw which means Thomas Brdarić’s side is now winless in the last five games and are lagging in the race for playoffs.

Despite reinforcements in the winter transfer window, ATK Mohun Bagan have failed to lift their ranks so far, managing only five points in their last five games.

FC Goa get back to winning ways

After a poor run of form in the second half of the season, FC Goa finally got some relief in the playoffs race as they registered their first win after over a month.

The Gaurs clinched a 3-1 win against Kerala Blasters on their home soil as they leapfrog Odisha FC to go fifth spot. They are now four points clear of Bengaluru FC, who sit seventh on the league table with 19 points.

The visitors pulled one back inside the first six minutes of the second half, but could not capitalize on it as Goa scored their third through Redeem Tlang in the 69th minute. The loss means Kerala Blasters remained in third place in the league table with back-to-back defeats.

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