ISL 2023-24: Key takeaways from Matchweek 10
Across seven matches in Matchweek 10, only 11 goals found the back of the net with five clean sheets being recorded.
Matchweek 10 of the Indian Super League 2023-24 season showcased a defensive prowess, with an abundance of clean sheets. Across seven matches, only 11 goals found the back of the net with five clean sheets being recorded. Notably, two of these encounters resulted in a goalless draw.
The action kicked off with a goalless draw between FC Goa and Mumbai City FC. The Islanders faced another draw, this time against East Bengal FC at home.
Chennaiyin FC secured a notable victory over Bengaluru FC, marking their first win against the Blues since 2019. This match also marked Bengaluru FC's first game under the leadership of new head coach Gerard Zaragoza, who led them to a subsequent win against Jamshedpur FC.
Meanwhile, Kerala Blasters FC continued their impressive form by claiming all three points against Punjab FC on the road.
In Guwahati, Mohun Bagan Super Giant mounted a comeback against NorthEast United FC, scoring three well-taken goals to maintain their unbeaten streak.
The final match of Matchweek 10 saw Odisha FC secure a convincing victory by putting three past Hyderabad FC at home. This result propelled Odisha FC to the fourth position in the table.
As we head into Matchweek 11, here is a look at the key takeaways from Matchweek 10.
Quiet start to Kratky's tenure
Mumbai City FC's newly appointed head coach, Peter Kratky, commenced his managerial debut in the ISL with two consecutive goalless draws. Kratky assumed the role following the departure of former head coach Des Buckingham, who joined EFL League One club Oxford United FC.
Despite the drawn results, Mumbai City FC has maintained its commitment to a possession-based style of play, prioritising building up from the back. In the match against FC Goa, they made an impressive 568 attempted passes, marking the highest pass count by any team in a single game this season. Out of these attempts, 483 passes were successfully completed, the second-highest in a single game this season. Notably, their 101 final third entries against East Bengal FC ranked as the second-highest in Mumbai City FC's ISL history.
However, the Islanders must translate their ball possession and creative play into goals in the upcoming matches if they need to make their close the gap at the top.
“I think it’s (our way of thinking about) how we want to play football,” Kratky said after the East Bengal FC game.
“That's what you see in the park at the moment. So, I'm very pleased with that. I think we had 70% possession. But it's not good enough to just have possession. You need to score goals,” he added.
Chennaiyin FC end hoodoo against Bengaluru FC
Chennaiyin FC showcased a complete and compelling performance, securing a win against Bengaluru FC. This victory marked the end of Chennaiyin FC's eight-game winless streak against the Blues, a record dating back to the 2018-19 season.
The match unfolded as a closely contested battle right from the start, with Bengaluru FC posing a significant challenge to Chennaiyin FC. However, the momentum shifted in favor of the hosts after Chennaiyin FC broke the deadlock early on with a well-earned spot-kick. Despite Bengaluru FC creating opportunities of their own, Chennaiyin FC's attacking prowess proved formidable, consistently testing the opposing defense throughout the match.
“A great night. Somebody told me it was the first time in five years that we beat Bengaluru FC. Incredible. Let’s make sure it’s not long again, that’s for sure,” Chennaiyin FC head coach Owen Coyle said after the game.
First cleansheet away from home for Kerala Blasters FC this season
Kerala Blasters FC reclaimed their winning form with a determined triumph against Punjab FC in New Delhi. Notably, this marked Kerala Blasters FC's first clean sheet away from home this season, a notable improvement after conceding in their previous three matches on the road.
Despite dominating possession throughout the game, Kerala Blasters FC only registered three shots on target, partly due to Punjab FC's resilient defensive performance. However, Kerala Blasters FC successfully secured all three points, courtesy of a penalty converted by Dimitrios Diamantakos.
"We played for the first time with two foreign players (in central defence). Normally we play with one foreign player and one Indian but Luna was not fit to play and we made that change. We played out (from the back) with a good organisation. I think the whole defence was good,” Kerala Blasters FC assistant coach Frank Dauwen said after the game.
A high-scoring Mohun Bagan Super Giant team
Mohun Bagan Super Giant came back from a goal down to beat NorthEast United FC in Guwahati. This was the sixth win in seven games for the Mariners, who are yet to be beaten this season.
Mohun Bagan Super Giant did not look too comfortable in the game at the start however they grew into the game as it went on. Despite NorthEast United FC scoring early, they managed to keep their composure and calmly picked the right moments to score.
The three goals meant that Mohun Bagan Super Giant have now scored 17 goals in the Indian Super League this season, which is their highest goal tally in any ISL season after seven games.
Zaragoza makes winning start as Bengaluru FC head coach
In a triumphant start to his coaching tenure, newly-appointed head coach Gerard Zaragoza led Bengaluru FC to a victory over Jamshedpur FC at home. The three points earned by Bengaluru FC were crucial, bringing an end to their seven-game winless streak.
This marked Bengaluru FC's second clean sheet of the season in 11 games, with a commendable record of as many wins. However, the Blues are still positioned in the bottom half of the table.
Zaragoza, previously part of Bengaluru FC's coaching staff during the 2018-19 season under former head coach Carles Cuadrat, contributed to the team's success in winning their first ISL title. Armed with experience in Indian football, he will be aiming to replicate that success despite the substantial challenges ahead.
East Bengal FC's defensive solidity
East Bengal FC secured a valuable point on the road against the reigning League champions, Mumbai City FC, extending their streak to three consecutive clean sheets under the guidance of Carles Cuadrat. This achievement marked the first time that East Bengal FC achieved three consecutive clean sheets in the ISL.
Despite facing challenges in converting their chances, East Bengal FC's defensive resilience took center stage against Mumbai City FC. Defender Hijazi Majher showcased an outstanding performance with 14 clearances, the highest by any player in the current season. Additionally, goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Gill made crucial saves, contributing significantly to his team earning a well-deserved point.
Odisha FC register longest unbeaten run in ISL
Odisha FC continued their unbeaten run at home this season, getting the better of Hyderabad FC at the Kalinga Stadium. The victory helped the Kalinga Warriors register their longest unbeaten run in ISL history.
They looked very dominant in the attacking phase of the game and scored two early goals to establish a comfortable lead in the match. Hyderabad FC challenged Odisha FC well in the game but lacked the finishing touch.
Odisha FC have registered 17 points after the first nine games of the ongoing season, which also happens to be their second-best points tally in the ISL history. Since their last defeat which came against Kerala Blasters FC, they have secured 13 points from five games.