Round-up: Unstoppable Blues, Sougou-Coro masterclass and Delhi’s redemption
The final week of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) fixtures of the 2018 calendar year went by in a flash with a number of enthralling matches keeping fans on the edge of their seats. With the league taking a month-long break, the onus was on the teams to ensure that they end the year on a high. Week 9 of the Hero ISL saw some tense encounters between the table toppers, Modou Sougou script Hero ISL history and a certain Spaniard equalling a long-standing league record.
Here are all the results and some of the major talking points from the week gone by:
Match 54: FC Pune City 2-0 FC Goa (Match report)
Match 55: Jamshedpur FC 2-1 Delhi Dynamos FC (Match report)
Match 56: Bengaluru FC 1-0 ATK (Match report)
Match 57: FC Goa 5-1 NorthEast United FC (Match report)
Match 58: Chennaiyin FC 1-3 Delhi Dynamos FC (Match report)
Match 59: Mumbai City FC 6-1 Kerala Blasters FC (Match report)
Bengaluru maintain unbeaten record
After losing the 2017-18 Hero ISL final in heart-breaking fashion, Bengaluru have made it clear that they intend to do one better this season. The Blues have had a stunning start to their 2018-19 campaign, going undefeated in the 11 matches they have played so far, winning eight and drawing three. In order to go into the new year with their undefeated record intact, the Blues needed to see off a tricky fixture against two-time champions ATK on Thursday. Sunil Chhetri and Co. put in a pragmatic display to secure a 1-0 victory at home to ensure their loss column in the table remained undisturbed. Erik Paartalu scored the only goal of the match.
Goa rout NorthEast as Coro equals Hume’s record
After a run of three matches without a victory, Goa got back to winning ways with an emphatic 5-1 victory over NorthEast on Friday. This victory was largely down to the talismanic Ferran Corominas’ return to form. The Spaniard picked up a brace on the night, taking his Hero ISL goal tally to 28 goals - on par with the league’s all-time top scorer Iain Hume. The pair will undoubtedly be battling it out for the pedestal when the second half of the season kicks off next year. The win also helped Goa leapfrog the Highlanders to occupy the third spot in the table, courtesy of goal difference.
Delhi finally come good
It was a long time coming – 12 matches to be exact – but Delhi Dynamos finally bagged their first victory of the season when they defeated the defending champions Chennaiyin FC 3-1 on Saturday. Wastefulness in front of goal and a series of unfortunate events had subjected the side from the capital to a wretched campaign. With no victories after 11 matches, things were looking incredibly bleak for Josep Gombau's men. However, the Lions made it count at the last hurdle of the year as Lallianzuala Chhangte and Nandhakumar Sekar inspired the team to a deserved victory.
Sougou single-handedly dismantles Kerala
The final match of the week on Sunday saw a ruthless Mumbai side dispatch a hapless Kerala 6-1. It was a night of making history for Modou Sougou, who became the first player in the Hero ISL to score four goals in a single match. Sougou also broke Sunil Chhetri’s record to become the highest scorer for Mumbai in a single season. Chhetri scored 7 when he represented the Islanders back in 2015. The Senegalese striker now has nine goals to his name this season and is level with NorthEast’s Bartholomew Ogbeche. Only Coro has scored more this season with 10. The three-way race for the Golden Boot will be something to look forward to when the league resumes in 2019.