Road to 1000: A look back at Hero ISL's milestone goals
The Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) goals counter is now four digits strong! The 1000-goal milestone was reached in the match between Chennaiyin FC and ATK at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on October 30, 2019, with ATK's Australian striker David Williams bringing up the magic number in the 48th minute of the match. It was perhaps fate that the 1000th goal was scored by the same team which scored the first-ever to get the Hero ISL underway almost five years back, and that too, with the same head coach - Antonio Lopez Habas at the helm. Furthermore, there couldn't have been a more appropriate occasion for the landmark than a clash between two of the most successful teams in Hero ISL history.
On the statistical front, it took 384 matches to hit the grand milestone with a total of 285 different players contributing to the tally. Notwithstanding the 20 own goals, 196 overseas players contributed with 702 of these, while 89 Indian players accounted for the remaining 278.
To mark this landmark occasion, we take a trip down memory lane to relive the very first and all the century landmarks.
Goal no. 1: Fikru Teferra Lemessa (Match 1, 2014: ATK 3-0 Mumbai City FC)
Twelfth October 2014 saw the first-ever Hero ISL match played between ATK (then Atletico de Kolkata) and Mumbai City FC. On a historic night for Indian football, in front of a packed Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, ATK's Ethiopian striker Fikru Teferra Lemessa registered the first goal of the competition with a cheeky chip over Mumbai goalkeeper Subrata Paul in the 27th minute to get the goal counter ticking. ATK would go on to win the tie 3-0 en route to becoming the first champions.
Goal no. 100: Romeo Fernandes (Match 46, 2014: FC Goa 3-0 NorthEast United FC)
The 100th goal in the Hero ISL came from the boots of Romeo Fernandes during FC Goa's home match against NorthEast United FC in the 2014 campaign. After playing a neat one-two with Miroslav Slepicka, Romeo made room for a crack at goal and produced a composed finish past NorthEast custodian TP Rehenesh to bring about the century.
Goal no. 200: Iain Hume (Match 27, 2015: Mumbai City FC 1-4 ATK)
Iain Hume has produced multiple memorable moments during his time in the Hero ISL and one of them happened to be the 200th goal in the league. In the second season of the competition, Hume, while representing ATK, scored a memorable hat-trick against Mumbai City FC at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai and brought about the double century with a grand flourish.
Goal no. 300: Joffre Mateu Gonsales (Match 56, 2015: Delhi Dynamos FC 2-3 FC Goa)
Just 29 matches after Hume scored the 200th, Joffre Mateu Gonsales ushered in the 300th goal in the league in emphatic fashion against Delhi Dynamos FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi. After falling two goals behind in the first-half, the Gaurs rallied in the second period and levelled up the score, courtesy a brace from Romeo Fernandes. With the match tied at 2-2 and time running out, Joffre struck in the 90th minute to hand Goa the win and a top of the table finish. The goal which completed one of the most memorable comebacks in Hero ISL history also happened to be the 300th goal of the competition.
Goal no. 400: Kean Lewis (Match 42, 2016: FC Pune City 4-3 Delhi Dynamos FC)
The milestone was rung in by Kean Lewis while playing for Delhi Dynamos FC against FC Pune City in Hero ISL 2016. Following a little Samba magic from Brazilians Marcelo Pereira and Memo, the latter floated in an inviting cross inside the Stallions' box for Lewis to slot home and bring about the landmark.
Goal no. 500: Danilo Lopes (Match 14, 2017-18: Delhi Dynamos FC 0-2 NorthEast United FC)
The 500th goal of Hero ISL came about in the fourth season of the competition in a match between Delhi and NorthEast. Highlanders' Brazilian forward Danilo Lopes made the most out of a mistake by Delhi Dynamos custodian Albino Gomes and slotted home to hit the 500-goal mark in the Hero ISL goal counter. Interestingly, it would turn out to be Lopes' only goal of his Hero ISL career.
Goal no. 600: Kalu Uche (Match 53, 2017-18, Jamshedpur FC 3-2 Delhi Dynamos FC)
On January 21, 2018, Kalu Uche struck twice, first in the 20th minute and then in the 22nd minute, with almost identical goals to hand Delhi Dynamos an early 2-0 lead against Jamshedpur FC at the JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur. Very much like the first goal, Uche's second came from a powerful header after a pin-point Nandhakumar Sekar cross from the left. The only difference, his first was the 599th goal in Hero ISL history, while the second was the landmark 600th. Unfortunately for Uche and Delhi, though, Jamshedpur managed to find the 601st, 602nd and 603rd in the same match.
Goal no. 700: Emiliano Alfaro (Match 87, 2017-18, Delhi Dynamos FC 2-2 FC Pune City)
Uruguayan striker Emiliano Alfaro holds the distinction of scoring the 700th strike in Hero ISL history. The milestone was breached while he was playing for FC Pune City against Delhi Dynamos FC in Match 87 of Hero ISL 2017-18. Having gone behind as early as the 10th minute, courtesy a Uche penalty, the Stallions earned one of their own after Simranjeet Singh's foul on Rafael Lopez just two minutes later. Alfaro stepped up to equalise and turn the Hero ISL goal counter's first number to seven. Interestingly, the match ended 2-2 and Alfaro scored Pune's second goal from the spot as well.
Goal no. 800: Adria Carmona (Match 28, 2018-19, Delhi Dynamos FC 2-2 Jamshedpur FC)
Adria Carmona scored just a single goal while playing for Delhi Dynamos FC in Hero ISL 2018-19, but it was one for the history books. The Spaniard headed the ball in the Jamshedpur goal after a deflected Lallianzuala Chhangte cross eluded the entirety of the opposition defence and made its way to him. The goal helped Delhi take the lead momentarily, but the match eventually ended all square at 2-2.
Goal no. 900: Mario Arques (Match 68, 2018-19, ATK 2-1 Jamshedpur FC)
Mario Arques' headed goal in the 82nd minute against ATK at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan might not have been quite enough to avoid a narrow defeat, but he did bring up the final milestone before the big one. Trailing 2-0 away from home courtesy two Manuel Lanzarote free-kicks in the first-half, Arques outjumped his marker late in the match to bury a Bikash Jairu cross from the left past Arindam Bhattacharja in the ATK goal.
Goal no. 1000: David Williams (Match 11, 2019-20, Chennaiyin FC 0-1 ATK)
ATK’s Australian striker David Williams etched his name in the history books, with a simple finish against Chennaiyin FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on October 30, 2019. In a match which saw wave after wave of attacks from both sides, it took until the 48th minute for the deadlock to break. Javier Hernandez’s shot at goal from a Prabir Das cut back was blocked off by Chennaiyin captain Lucian Goian. But the ball fell kindly for Williams, who had taken up his position at the far post. It only needed a tap in from the Australian. Simple, yet one for the history books.