MW20 Takeaways: Islanders clinch Shield, Blues extend their winning streak, and more
Matchweek 20 witnessed Mumbai City FC clinch their second Hero Indian Super League (ISL) Shield after a thrilling 5-3 victory over FC Goa at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, Goa.
While the Islanders glued themselves at the top, the table below kept changing as teams continued their fight for the remaining four playoff seats. Four teams managed to secure full points with a total of 15 goals being scored across the five matches that also witnessed three clean sheets.
Jamshedpur FC kicked off Matchweek 20 with a goalless draw against ATK Mohun Bagan at the JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur.
Odisha FC kept themselves alive in the race for the top six with a stunning 3-1 win over Hyderabad FC.
In double-header Saturday, Mumbai City FC and FC Goa crossed swords in an entertaining battle that ended with the Islanders reigning supreme in a 5-3 victory. The second bout witnessed Bengaluru FC extending their winning streak to six games as they edged past southern rivals Kerala Blasters FC in a 1-0 win.
Chennaiyin FC concluded Matchweek 20 with a 2-0 win over East Bengal FC to keep their mathematical chance of qualifying for the playoffs still open.
Before we head into another exciting Matchweek, let’s take a look at the key takeaways from Matchweek 20:
ATK Mohun Bagan fail to capitalise on points
The Mariners couldn’t chalk up the three points against Jamshedpur FC despite several efforts in front of the goal. Despite being the dominant team on the field, the side couldn’t conjure a goal past the Jamshedpur FC, who registered their third clean sheet of the season.
The Green and Maroons now have failed to win a game in their last four away outings, and one of their remaining three matches is away from home against Hyderabad FC. With the race for the top six still going strong, Juan Ferrando’s side need to be extremely cautious if they have to cement their place in the top six.
Odisha FC keep their playoff hopes alive
The Kalinga Warriors pulled off a huge upset over Hyderabad FC in their 3-1 win and breathed back into the playoffs race. With rival contenders ATK Mohun Bagan, Kerala Blasters FC, FC Goa, all dropping points, the side has been provided with a huge boost as they are now level on points (27) with sixth-placed FC Goa.
Meanwhile, having already secured qualification into the playoffs, Hyderabad FC will look back into the defeat as a matter of concern before they conclude with the league stage of the season. Being just their third defeat of the season, head coach Manolo Marquez would stress on getting the team back to the right direction, with important matches against ATK Mohun Bagan and Kerala Blasters FC.
Mumbai City FC coronate themselves as Shield winners; FC Goa reach milestone
A night that marked not just one celebration but two. In Mumbai City FC’s 5-3 win over FC Goa at Fatorda, the former sealed the League Winners’ Shield while the latter became the first Hero ISL side to surpass the 300-goal mark in the league’s history.
It was a goal fest at Fatorda as neither side was ready to back down when it came to scoring goals, with both teams aiming for the back of the net right from get go. With this result, the Gaurs will have to fight their way back into the top six as they sit seventh in the league standings with 27 points.
Blazing Bengaluru FC extend their winning streak to six games
The only team to have a 100% winning record in 2023, Simon Grayson’s Bengaluru FC have turned the corner at the most crucial stage of the season and now find themselves one step closer to making it to the playoffs. A composed Roy Krishna strike was the main highlight of the match as they found victory against their southern rivals in style.
As for the Blasters, their struggle with away form continues as they recorded their fifth away loss, taking their total loss tally to seven this season. With this loss against the Blues, the side are yet to register a victory at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru.
Chennaiyin FC put a halt to their eight-game winless streak
The Marina Machans put up an emphatic performance in their 2-0 victory over East Bengal FC to put an end to their eight-game winless streak. The side managed to do a double over East Bengal FC this season, the only team they’ve done a double over this season. Marking their third clean sheet of the season thus far with this win, Samik Mitra now has kept more clean sheets than his fellow goalkeeper mate Debjit Majumder.
The Red and Gold Brigade, on the other hand, would want to finish the season as strongly as possible, with Constantine ruling out using any reserve players for the remainder of the season. “We don't plan to put the reserve team out against Mumbai City FC who are the champions and against ATK Mohun Bagan. That's not possible. We will put the best eleven players we have and look to get something out of these last two games,” the head coach said during the post-match press conference.