Round up: Special tributes to Pulwama martyrs, Bengaluru blues, two contenders revealed
Another set of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19 matches just concluded and needless to say, each team has been giving it their all to end the season on a high. There are different motivations at play, however, with some teams duking it out for the top spot, a few battling for a play-off spot and the rest, trying to salvage some pride. Each match had its own narrative and the teams delivered in spectacular fashion. To put it into context, a whopping 21 goals were scored in the last six fixtures.
Here's a look at the results and some of the major talking points which played out.
Match 75: Mumbai City FC 0-2 NorthEast United FC (Match Report)
Match 76: FC Goa 3-0 ATK (Match Report)
Match 77: Kerala Blasters FC 3-0 Chennaiyin FC (Match Report)
Match 78: Jamshedpur FC 1-4 FC Pune City (Match Report)
Match 79: Delhi Dynamos FC 3-2 Bengaluru FC (Match Report)
Match 80: FC Goa 3-0 Kerala Blasters FC (Match Report)
Heartfelt tributes to Pulwama martyrs
On Thursday, February 14, 2019, the world witnessed a shocking terror attack in the Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir, which took the lives of more than 40 CRPF personnel. Before the kick-off to the Kerala Blasters FC vs Chennaiyin FC match on February 15, a minute's silence was observed in honour of the martyrs and the trend continued in the next couple of fixtures. The players and fans, too, expressed their solidarity with the families and loved ones of the nation's fallen heroes in their own unique way. Particularly, during the Jamshedpur vs Pune match, on Saturday, the Stallions paid a beautiful ode to the bravehearts during a goal celebration.
Kerala break unsavoury streak
Kerala Blasters FC went into Thursday's match against Chennaiyin FC on the back of a 14-match winless streak. Nelo Vingada's men, however, found redemption during the intense South Indian Derby and ran away as convincing 3-0 victors over their arch-rivals. It was only their second triumph of the season, having failed to win a single match since their 2-0 victory over ATK on the opening day of the campaign. For the home fans at Kochi, it was a special moment too as it was the team's first home win after 384 days. Making the occasion all the more memorable was local boy Sahal Abdul Samad scoring his maiden Hero ISL goal to seal the 3-0 scoreline.
Bengaluru, Goa seal qualification
With the league stages finally reaching its business end, we finally have clarity on two of the four teams who will be vying for the title this season. Bengaluru's disappointing loss against Delhi Dynamos FC on Sunday had no consequences on their play-off hopes as FC Pune City's 4-1 victory over Jamshedpur FC on the previous day had already sent them through to the semi-finals. Goa, on the other hand, took the initiative onto themselves and ensured their passage with a 3-0 victory over Kerala. The triumph also helped Goa take over the top spot in the table after knocking Bengaluru off the perch.
Bengaluru's shock defeat to Delhi on Sunday was Carles Cuadrat's men's second loss on a trot. Having established themselves as the team to look out for in the first half of the campaign, the Blues seem to have lost their way after the winter break, having just won one of their five matches since the league resumed in January. With the play-offs right around the corner, Bengaluru fans will surely be concerned with their team's sudden fall from grace.