Manvir continues goalscoring form, Chhetri misses first ISL penalty & More
The Indian footballing fans were yet again treated to an enthralling weekend of entertaining football with three sides maintaining their unbeaten start to the season while two sides failed to win a match once again in the 2020-21 ISL season.
The weekend was kicked off by Kolkata giants ATK Mohun Bagan FC facing the unbeaten Hyderabad FC with FC Goa playing their first away game on Saturday against winless Odisha FC. On Super Sunday, dark horses NorthEast United FC played Chennaiyin FC before the exciting battle between Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters FC.
ATK Mohun Bagan FC 1-1 Hyderabad FC
Hyderabad FC had only two fit overseas players in central defender Odei Onaindia and holding midfielder Joao Victor while ATK Mohun Bagan was expected to make light work of their opponents even though they were missing the likes of David Williams, Carl McHugh, and Michael Soosairaj.
Subrata Pal made a string of saves in the first-half as he denied Roy Krishna thrice in the first 20 minutes before making an excellent save off a Prabir Das effort in the 27th minute. The experienced goalkeeper was finally beaten in the 54th minute as Manvir Singh danced around several defenders before finishing past a helpless Pal.
Hero at one end turned villain at the other as Manvir Singh fouled Nikhil Poojary inside the 18-yard box giving away an unnecessary penalty in the 65th minute. Spaniard Joao Victor smashed the ball in the back of the net as Arindam Bhattacharja failed to keep a clean sheet for the second consecutive match.
Odisha FC 0-1 FC Goa
Igor Angulo powered FC Goa to their second consecutive win as his goal at the end of the second half proved to be the difference between the two sides.
Stuart Baxter gave Vinit Rai his first start of the season while Arshdeep Singh also came in as the English manager made four changes to the side that lost 2-0 to Mumbai City FC. On the other hand, Juan Ferrando made only a single change with Alberto Noguera replacing the club captain Edu Bedia from the side’s 3-1 win over Kerala Blasters.
The Gaurs playing in their first away match of the season were dominant in attack as they had 23 shots with 10 of those on target compared to Odisha FC’s four shots with none of them on target.
Fans of winless Odisha FC were disappointed once again despite the heroics of their fit-again first-choice goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh. The goalkeeper made an impressive double save in the 64th minute as Angulo was found through on goal but the 36-year old striker was denied by Singh. A weak clearance from Hendry Antonay allowed Jorge Ortiz to have a shot on goal again but the Spanish forward failed to beat the 24-year old shot-stopper.
NorthEast United FC 0-0 Chennaiyin FC
The Highlanders maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a goalless draw against the Marina Machans.
In the first minute, Lallianzuala Chhangte did well to test Gurmeet Singh in goal but the young shot-stopper did well to deny the pacey winger. The best chance of the first half fell to Benjamin Lambot who failed to score from a free header less than 10 yards away from goal.
Idrissa Sylla took a punt at goal in the first minute of the second half after some good work from Luis Machado but the striker fired the ball over the Chennaiyin goal. Both the sides had 12 shots in total during the 90 minutes but Vishal Kaith and Gurmeet Singh did well to preserve their clean sheets.
Bengaluru FC 4-2 Kerala Blasters FC
Kerala Blasters are one of the three times that have failed to win a single match in the 2020-21 season of the ISL with SC East Bengal and Odisha FC sailing in the same boat.
This is the first instance that the Blasters have failed to win any of their first five matches of an ISL season and the pressure is mounting on Kibu Vicuna as his side has conceded 10 goals in 5 matches, the most by any team in this season.
Kerala opened the scoring in the six-goal thriller as Rahul KP opened his goalscoring account for the 2020-21 season of the ISL after a neat layoff from Gary Hooper in the 17th minute of the match. Before the half-hour mark, Cleiton Silva equalized for the Blues capitalizing on a miscued clearance from Lalruatthara at the back.
Just over a minute inside the second half, Bakary Kone conceded a penalty and captain Sunil Chhetri stepped up to take the spot-kick in hopes of cheekily putting the ball in the back of the net via a panenka but Albino Gomes stood his ground and saved it with ease.
The Blues finally took the lead in the 51st minute as Kristian Opseth scored his first ISL goal courtesy of a great low cross from Ashique Kuruniyan. Bengaluru doubled their lead in less than two minutes as miscommunication between Gomes and Lalruatthara allowed Dimas Delgado to slot the ball in the back of the net for his first goal of the season.
Set-piece specialists Bengaluru FC weren’t at their best on Sunday as they conceded a goal from a free-kick in the 61st minute with Jordan Murray heading the ball over the line after an initial header from Vicente Gomez. Carles Cuadrat’s men scored another goal to put the result beyond any doubt as Harmanjot Khabra’s cross found captain Chhetri in the box and he made it up for the penalty miss with a bullet header finding the top right corner of the net.