ISL 2023/24 – Matchweek 18 Review

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Another enthralling week unfolded in the ISL, marked by dramatic shifts in the points table as the season neared its gripping conclusion. The race for the shield and the top six spots remains intense, with each twist and turn keeping fans on the edge of their seats.

Odisha FC experienced a setback, slipping from their top position, while Mumbai City continued their dominant form and FC Goa returned to winning ways. Northeast United continued to struggle, and Kerala Blasters tasted defeat against their rivals, while Punjab enjoyed a dream run.

The week concluded with a controversial game between Jamshedpur and Mumbai, resulting in a draw.

Now, let’s delve into the details of each game from the past week.

Gripping encounter sees Mumbai edge past resilient Punjab

Another thrilling day of football unfolded as two formidable teams clashed fiercely. Mumbai, with their exceptional brilliance, emerged victorious over Punjab FC. The early lead was secured by Mumbai through a goal by Lallianzuala Chhangte. However, Punjab swiftly responded, exploiting gaps in Mumbai’s defense to take the lead before halftime. Madih Talal shone brightly, scoring a spectacular goal from the left side, assisted by Wilmar Jordan. Talal then returned the favor, assisting Jordan to extend Punjab’s lead to 2-1 before halftime.

ISL

However, Mumbai had different plans, as their new signing Iker Guarrotxena effortlessly bypassed Punjab’s defense, restoring the lead to 3-2 in favor of the Islanders. Despite Punjab’s efforts to regain momentum, the day belonged to Mumbai, who secured three points at home.

Kanteerava curse continues for Kerala Blasters

Kerala Blasters FC once again fell short of expectations in the highly anticipated and fierce rivalry match against Bengaluru FC at Sree Kanteerava Stadium. The pivotal moment came in the 89th minute when Javi Hernandez scored, clinching victory for Bengaluru, supported by the West Block Blues. This defeat denied Kerala Blasters their first win at Kanteerava. Javi was the standout performer, supported by Ryan Williams, who consistently exploited KBFC’s defense, and Sunil Chhetri, who, despite being active, couldn’t find the net.

ISL

The game’s tempo slowed as both teams struggled to find their finishing touch. Bengaluru had clear-cut chances but failed to convert, narrowly escaping a potential upset. Despite occasional attempts, the yellow-clad team couldn’t shift momentum in their favor. Bengaluru’s victory brings them closer to the top 6, while KBFC missed an opportunity to climb higher in the standings.

Chennaiyin stuns Odisha with late winner

The dream run of Odisha FC, boasting a 13-game unbeaten streak, came to an abrupt end as Australian forward Jordan Murray ignited a late surge at the Marina Arena, securing a crucial win and three points for Chennaiyin. The match was a relentless back-and-forth battle, with both sides fiercely vying for supremacy at every turn, culminating in a last-minute victory for the Blues. Chennaiyin dominated across all areas of the pitch, despite Odisha’s efforts to mount a comeback.

Read: ISL 2023/24 – Matchweek 17 Review

ISL

Chennaiyin struck first in the 5th minute, with Ankit Mukherjee slotting home cleanly from a corner delivered by Rafael Crivellaro. Despite Odisha’s attempts to breach Chennaiyin’s defense, they struggled to find a way through. Chennaiyin, however, remained proactive throughout the game, also testing Odisha’s defense on several occasions. A defensive lapse led to Odisha’s goal, with Roy Krishna capitalizing on a well-executed corner kick for his 12th goal of the season. Nevertheless, Chennaiyin swiftly responded, exploiting Odisha’s shaky defense to score through Murray, putting them in contention for a top-six spot.

Young Hyderabad scripts comeback against Northeast

Hyderabad FC once again proved to be a young, energetic force as Northeast suffered a late blow, resulting in a draw at the Gachibowli Stadium despite initially leading by two goals. The team, led by Joao Victor, fell behind when Parthib Gogoi scored a stunning goal in the 32nd minute, ending his nine-match goal drought. The game shifted momentum after Hyderabad conceded an own goal in the 51st minute, which spurred the Nizams into action, with their young players leading the charge.

ISL

Makhan Chothe delivered a standout performance, scoring his first goal for the yellow team in the 70th minute, assisted by Abdul Rabeeh with a well-delivered cross. This goal ignited the game, followed by Joao Victor calmly converting a loose ball in the 76th minute, leveling the score at 2-2. The draw dealt a significant blow to the Northeast side led by Juan Pedro Benali, now slipping from the playoff spot, currently positioned at 8th with 20 points.

Noah’s powers Goa to victory

Noah Sadaoui has once again proven his worth as a reliable finisher, earning FC Goa much-anticipated three points after a struggling period of five winless games. Under Manolo Marquez’s leadership, Goa, the dominant side, didn’t reflect the exact picture of the 90 minutes in the scoreline. Despite 26 shots, only 7 on target, FC Goa relentlessly charged East Bengal’s defense, dominating nearly every aspect of the game with precision. However, more goals on the scoresheet remained the only lacking element.

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Noah broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute with a beautifully laid-off through pass, stylishly converting after numerous chances, slipping it through his and Carlos Martinez’s legs. Despite further opportunities, none hit the net, leaving the game at 1-0 in favor of the Gaurs. FC Goa now moves closer to the title race with 32 points, securing 4th place on the table.

Punjab registers narrow win over the Highlanders

Punjab FC, under the leadership of Staikos Vergetis, secured a victory against Northeast with a lone goal by Wilmar Jordan in the 63rd minute. This win marks Punjab’s fourth victory in six recent games, giving them a slim chance to secure the coveted playoff spot, a position being eyed by six teams in the league. The visiting team, bolstered by players like Wilmar Jordan, former Northeast United striker, and Luka Majcen, dominated with their physicality, posing a significant threat to the Highlander’s defense.

ISL

Northeast had opportunities in the game with players like Jithin MS, Parthib Gogoi, and Nestor, but Punjab capitalized on their chances. A spot kick converted by Jordan secured three points for Punjab. With this loss, Northeast is now under scrutiny as they had a chance to remain in the 6th position on the table, currently held by Jamshedpur FC.

Controversial encounter culminates in a draw for Mumbai

Jamshedpur FC and Mumbai City FC each earned a point in a contentious match at the JRD Tata Sports Complex. The Khalid Jamil-led side battled fiercely against the shield contenders, Petr Kratky’s Mumbai City FC. The match was intense, with both teams having opportunities to secure victory.

ISL

Jamshedpur FC opened the scoring with Javier Siverio slotting home a well-delivered ball from Uvais in the 60th minute. The defending champions showcased their attacking prowess with fluid movements, leading to an equalizer from star player Lallianzuala Chhangthe. However, controversy ensued with forced substitutions following a red card for Chima Chukwu. Currently, Mumbai leads the table with 36 points from 18 games, with Odisha and Mohun Bagan close behind.


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Rejin T Jays
Rejin T Jayshttps://iftwc.com/author/rejintjays/
Kerala Blasters Supporter💛 and Indian Football Fan💙

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