No giving up: Best comebacks in the Hero ISL 2021-22 season
A sporting contest is incomplete without fighting spirit. Needless to say, the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season saw a vast number of comebacks being made, be it victories or draws. From drawing first blood in the second minute of the game to conceding in the dying minutes of the game, teams gave their 101% and guarded their fortresses by keeping the game alive until the very last second.
While fans might have missed the live action from the stands, the 2021-22 campaign did not disappoint and kept them glued to their screens when it came to these comebacks.
Bengaluru FC 3-3 ATK Mohun Bagan
It rained goals during a cracking game at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim. Defender Subhasish Bose gave the Mariners the head start through a brilliant header from a corner in the 13th minute, but the joy was short-lived as the Blues fought back with an equaliser from the penalty spot via Cleiton Silva in the 18th minute followed by a Danish Farooq header to make it 2-1 for Pezzaiuoli’s side.
If that wasn’t enough, the Mariners played through a spectacular counter-attack to find an equaliser right before the break, through Hugo Boumous in the 38th minute. After the break, Roy Krishna stepped up to give the lead back to the Green and Maroons through a spot-kick in the 58th minute. With the momentum shifting across both teams throughout the game, Prince Ibara sent one past the net through another header from a Roshan Naorem corner to make it 3-3 for the Blues.
NorthEast United FC 3-3 Mumbai City FC
Another six-goal thriller that witnessed drama, goals, mistakes, and even a hat-trick. Deshorn Brown fired three goals in this match and opened the scoring of the match in the 29th minute, but two quick-fire goals by Igor Angulo and Bipin Singh in the 33rd minute and 40th minute respectively, helped Mumbai City FC snatch the lead from Khalid Jamil’s men. Going into the break with a slender lead, Angulo netted yet another one in the 52nd minute to give his side a two-goal advantage.
Within four minutes, Brown matched his Mumbai City FC counterpart with a beautiful goal, capitalising on the Islanders’ high-line, to make it 3-2. With the game constantly keeping players on their toes, Brown equalised for his side, completing his hat-trick and making it 3-3, handing the Highlanders an unlikely point against the then reigning champions.
Odisha FC 4-2 Mumbai City FC
A game of two halves, Odisha FC triumphed over Mumbai City FC in a game which involved some intense action, breath-taking goals, and a lot more. Scoring the opening goal, Aridai Suarez pounced on a mistake from the Islanders' captain Mourtada Fall and bulged the net right in the fourth minute. Not withholding back, Des Buckingham’s men found their equaliser through their talisman Ahmed Jahouh, who curled one right in to make it 1-1.
Dominating possession and threatening in attack, the Islanders netted yet another through Igor Angulo in the 38th minute, leading the game 2-1 right before the break. The Kalinga Warriors fought back in the second half, scoring two quick-fire goals within seven minutes through Jerry Mawihmingthanga, coming from behind to make it 3-2. With the game still in the balance with both sides trying to edge past each other, Jonathas Cristian added a fourth to put the game to dust in the 89th minute, handing Mumbai City FC their third defeat of the season.
Kerala Blasters FC 2-2 ATK Mohun Bagan
Arguably one of the most exceptional matches of the season. Going into the game without a single win against the Mariners in the Hero ISL, the Blasters looked solid against a well-oiled ATK Mohun Bagan side, who went into the game with a 11-game unbeaten run. The game commenced with two back-to-back goals from both sides within the first ten minutes of the game. The Tuskers’ wizard Adrian Luna scored yet another spectatcular goal - from a free-kick, only for it to be cancelled out by a David Williams strike who scored right from the restart.
Going level at the break, both sides were at their best, be it with passing, dribbling, or fouling to break the opposition’s play. Ivan Vukomanovic’s men, being lethal in the attack, converted the only chance they got through Luna, who put in a belter, to make it 2-1. The game got spicier, and cards were being dealt all over the pitch including seven yellow cards and two red cards. With both teams being reduced to 10-men, midfielder Joni Kauko brought ATK Mohun Bagan level with an astonishing goal in stoppage time, stealing two very crucial points and keeping their unbeaten record intact.
FC Goa 4-4 Kerala Blasters FC
Another game of the tournament contender, the last game of the season for FC Goa turned out to be an absolute humdinger, involving eight goals with both sides having the led once in the game. The Blasters had the upper hand in the first half, scoring two great goals by Jorge Diaz, including one from the penalty spot. Leading at the break, things looked in control for the Kochi-based side.
With the second half approaching, the Gaurs head coach Derrick Pereira made one of the most effective substitutions of the season. Bringing on Airam Cabrera for Muhammed Nemil, the forward came out all guns blazing for his side, scoring a hat-trick with all goals coming within a span of 37 minutes besides another goal by Aiban Dohling to make it 4-2 for FC Goa. But the Blasters weren't done, they didn’t give up, and put two goals past FC Goa in two minutes through Vincy Barretto and Alvaro Vazquez. In what was a season defining game for FC Goa, Kerala Blasters FC entered the semis with their heads held high.