The year that was! Memorable Hero ISL moments from 2019
The 2019 calendar year, much like the four preceding it, saw the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) evolve and make rapid strides towards realizing its ultimate goal – to become the beacon of Indian football. During the course of the last 12 months, the league produced some scintillating football and perhaps more importantly, multiple narratives that will surely be archived and spoken about for many years to come.
With 2020 upon us, we take a trip down memory lane to relive some special Hero ISL moments which made 2019 a truly memorable year.
NorthEast reach first-ever semi-finals
After a long wait which spanned four seasons, NorthEast United FC finally came into their own in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19, making it into the semifinals of the Hero ISL for the first time since their inception in their fifth attempt. Under the now Kerala Blasters head coach, Eelco Schattorie, NorthEast slowly but steadily kept up with the pacesetters, before finally confirming their place in the top four towards the end of the league stage back in February. Misfortune, however, prevented them from going any further, as they were eventually knocked out by Bengaluru FC in the semis.
Bengaluru clinch maiden Hero ISL title
In their first season in the Hero ISL back in 2017-18, the Blues reached the final but lost out on the title to a determined Chennaiyin FC side. The disappointment of the defeat, however, didn’t linger on for too long as Carles Cuadrat and Co. emerged 1-0 victors over FC Goa in the final of the 2018-19 campaign, thereby becoming the third team to win the Hero ISL crown.
Hero ISL 2019-20 opener shatters records
Year-on-year, the Hero ISL has seen a substantial growth in audience, with top-quality football attracting viewers to tune-in and enjoy the action. This season has been no different, and began on a cracking note with more 34 million viewers tuning in to watch the opening encounter between Kerala Blasters FC and ATK FC. Fair to say, the encounter didn’t disappoint as the Blasters came back from a goal down to take all three points against their arch-rivals in front of a capacity turnout at Kochi. A glitzy opening ceremony added some extra zing to the occasion.
Two new sides enter the fray
Hyderabad FC and Odisha FC's inclusion in the Hero ISL from the 2019-20 season not only just saw two new teams enter the fray, but also marked the integration of two sets of fanbases, more diverse fan cultures, amongst other positives. Odisha played their debut match on October 22 against Jamshedpur FC.
Hyderabad announced their presence officially on the Hero ISL stage on October 25.
Five-star ATK record their biggest Hero ISL win
The two-time champions went into the season as a major challenger after signing some high-profile players like Roy Krishna and David Williams. Their start to the season, though, wasn’t that convincing with Kerala Blasters keeping them quiet and inflicting their first loss of the season. A reaction, therefore, was imminent and it came in sensational fashion against Hyderabad FC. Antonio Lopez Habas’ men scored five goals with Krishna and Williams playing a major role in almost all of them.
Asamoah Gyan registers his first Hero ISL goal
Easily the biggest signing of the summer, the Ghanaian legend had a lot of expectations riding on his back as he took the field for NorthEast. In his first game for the club, the striker showed glimpses of his extraordinary scoring ability but couldn’t find the back of the net, much to the disappointment of the Highlanders faithful. Given his record, however, scoring was only a matter of time which would soon arrive in the match against Odisha FC. Gyan scored from a powerful header in the 84th minute, thus sealing all three points for Robert Jarni’s men.
David Williams scores Hero ISL’s 1000th goal
Since his arrival in the league, the Australian striker has been one of the star performers, contributing multiple goals and assists for ATK. While all his efforts have been equally important in the context of matches, the striker’s goal in ATK’S 1-0 win over Chennaiyin FC at the end of October holds special significance and will be the most talked in the coming time. The goal didn’t just hand ATK the three points but also brought up the Hero ISL’s 1000th goal.
Do you have a personal favourite of your own? Tell us in the comments below.