ISL 2023-24 Matchweek 8 Review


It was a week of end-to-end action, gripping encounters, enthralling comebacks, and goal fiesta in the Indian Super League (ISL). FC Goa secured their top spot after the 8th matchweek, Mohun Bagan continued their winning tally, East Bengal thrashed Northeast United FC, Odisha FC sealed their place in the top four and more.

Read more about each of the spirited battles of this past week.

Six-goal thriller ends in a draw

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Dimitrios Diamantakos against Chennaiyin FC

Kerala Blasters FC played out a draw against their mighty rivals Chennaiyin FC at their home Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi on November 29th. Chennaiyin FC started the goal fiesta by netting one in just 54 seconds to the game through a set-piece routine finished off by Rahim Ali. What followed was an intense game that resulted in one penalty each for both teams and was easily scored by Dimitrios Diamantakos for the Blasters and Jordan Murray for the Marina Machans respectively.

The duo of Rahim and Murray who are coming back from injury woes hit another blow as they ripped open KBFC’s defence once again to make the score line 3-1 in favour of the Blues with Murray scoring the brace. Things went the flip side in the second half as KBFC came charging in, carving open the Chennaiyin defence multiple times. The team in yellow fought with resilience with Kwame Peprah unleashing a stunner and his first goal for the team followed by Greek striker Dimanatakos with another banger leveling the score. It could have been a victory with a comeback if it wasn’t for a terrible miss from Daisuke in the dying minutes of the game for the Blasters.

Comeback Blues in Kanteerava

Sunil Chhetri in action against Punjab FC
Sunil Chhetri in action against Punjab FC

Bengaluru FC scripted an incredible fightback against last year’s I-League champions Punjab FC in the Kanteerava Stadium. It was a game of two halves as one team dominated the other in each half. Punjab broke the deadlock in the 19th minute from a set-piece routine finished off by Nikhil Prabhu marking the 100th goal of the season.

Bengaluru fought back instantly with the trio of Javi-Chhetri-Patre. Patre wrapped up the move to score a beautiful goal for the side, levelling the score just 2 minutes later. What followed was some forgettable defending for BFC as they conceded two back-to-back goals from Dimitris Chatziisaias and Luka Macjen giving Punjab a two-goal lead before halftime.

Bengaluru found their rhythm in the second half as they embarked on an incredible comeback in a riveting atmosphere in front of West Block Blues. Curtis Main capitalized on a silly mistake made by Punjab goalkeeper Ravi to make it 2-3. Javi Hernandez who missed an early chance buried a slick one-touch with Roshan leveling the score. Both teams tried hard for another goal to bag the three points but the game ended as a 3-3 draw.

Tough battle saw Odisha edge past Jamshedpur

Jerry Mawihmingthanga fighting of pressure against Jamshedpur FC
Jerry Mawihmingthanga fighting off pressure against Jamshedpur FC

It was a stellar night that saw Scott Cooper-led Jamshedpur FC attempting to grab all three points against Lobera’s Odisha. But, the day was in favour of Odisha in the form of Roy Krishna who lured away the hopes of the Red Miners. It was an open neck-to-neck battle that saw both teams going aggressively on the attacking area carving open each other’s defense. It was almost equal in terms of stats but what differentiated between them was clinical finishing.

Even though the game was split into two halves, game style was the only thing to filter out between both teams. Ahmed Jahouh ran the show as usual where the decision to bring in Krishna in place of Mauricio became fruitful for the Juggernauts. The valiant efforts of Rei Tachikawa, Jeremy Manzorro, and Chukwu didn’t find the back of the net unluckily. Odisha has now moved to the top-four spot with this victory.

Stars shine as Mohan Bagan cruise past Hyderabad

Brendan Hamill celebrtates his debut goal for Mohun Bagan
Brendan Hamill celebrates his debut goal for Mohun Bagan

Mohun Bagan has once again proved the exact reason why they are the current Indian Super League champions. Mariners who are coming after two back-to-back defeats against Bangladeshi side Bashundhara and fellow Indian side Odisha FC who thrashed them by a scoreline of 5-2 took the game against the Nizams to fight for the pride. The rustiness was prevalent in the Mohun Bagan side where Hyderabad opened up the defence multiple times but failed to convert the chances.

It was in the second half that the Mariners found balance in the name of Ashish Rai who stormed past Hyderabad’s defence and Sahal Abdul Samad who ripped open the Nizams with his inch-perfect through balls. It was from such a through ball that was picked up by an unexpected man from the defence, Brendan Hamil, who scored his first goal for the Mariners and the match in the 85th minute. Ashish Rai finished the game in the last minute of injury time against his former team and grabbed three points for his team. Mohan Bagan is currently third on the table with a full 15 points secured from 5 matches.

Gaurs top the table with a win over the Blasters

Carl McHugh winning a duel with Danish Farooq in the 8th matchweek game
Carl McHugh winning a duel with Danish Farooq

Manolo Marquez headed FC Goa has extended their unbeaten run in this season’s ISL campaign as they defeated the in-form Kerala Blasters FC led by Serbian Ivan Vukomanovic. It wasn’t a unanimous victory for the Guars because Blasters was never off the rail in the game as they found multiple chances to bury the game but failed to capitalize on it.

It was an excellent game for almost all players except for Adrian Luna, KBFC’s trump card who was pocketed by Goa which gradually affected the whole team’s performance. The first half of the game belonged to the Gaurs as the Blasters had the upper hand during the second half. It was a perfectly executed set-piece routine in the injury time of the first half from Spaniard Victor Rodriguez which was connected perfectly by Rowlin Borges who found the back of the net and eventually three points for Goa.

It was the finishing touch that hindered KBFC’s chances of finding a point or more at Fatorda including an open chance to Kwame Peprah who drifted it wide during the early minutes itself. The curse continues for KBFC to not win at Fatorda for the past 6 years.

East Bengal thrashes Northeast United for their biggest ISL win ever

East Bengal players celebrating their goal against Northeast United FC
East Bengal players celebrating their goal against Northeast United FC

Everything went perfectly for the Red and Gold brigade at the Salt Lake Stadium as they cruised past Northeast United FC in style with a commanding 5-0 victory at home. Both teams went into the game after a winless run but the way East Bengal charged at the Highlanders in such a bossy manner showed they meant business. It was Nandhakumar Sekar who was the game changer and best performer of the game with 2 goals, 1 assist, and 2 goal-scoring chances along with Cleiton Silva who also scored a brace with Naorem Mahesh another player with 2 assists to his name in the game.

It was Borja Herrera who opened up the scoresheet with a stunning long ranger in the 14th minute. Cleiton made it two in the 24th minute from an inch-perfect delivery by Mandar Rao Desai. The game drifted to an extremely dominating path with the introduction of Nandhakumar who gave the first blow in the 62nd minute and another in the 66th minute this time with an an assist to Cleiton Silva. The game finished off with a brace from Nandha in the 81st minute with an elegant finish.

It was the trio of Nandha-Cleiton-Naorem who won it for East Bengal with all other players standing tall to fight for the badge and earn the biggest victory for them in the Indian Super League.

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Rejin T Jays
Rejin T Jays
Kerala Blasters Supporterđź’› and Indian Football Fanđź’™

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