With FC Goa’s victory against Punjab FC, the second match week of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023/24 season came to a close. We take a look at some of the talking topics and pivotal events as another week of the action played out.
Simon Grayson “yet to find the right combination”
Mohun Bagan Super Giants and Bengaluru FC competed in the opening encounter of the match week at the Salt Lake Stadium. The 67th minute goal from Hugo Boumous handed the Mariners all three points and proved to be the deciding factor. While the Mariners extended their ISL unbeaten streak to eight games, attention was on Simon Grayson’s Bengaluru FC, who had lost their first two games and are yet to pick up any points.
Similar to the previous season, the Blues are off to a sluggish start this time as well. They have now lost consecutive games in the league, which eventually put an end to their winning streak in ISL in 2023. Simon Grayson seems to still be searching for the ideal formula despite the setback. For the first two games, Simon used two different formations, and he hasn’t yet found the winning formula. Suresh Wangjam and Roshan Singh were both dismissed against MBSG and will not be available for the forthcoming match against East Bengal, which only makes matters worse. Simon will be aiming to strike the right balance and see an improvement in the results with the return of Sunil Chhetri.
Nawaz fails to step up
The second encounter of the match week featured a fascinating 2-2 draw between Mumbai City FC and Odisha FC. Twice in the game, the Islanders overcame deficits to win a point. After Roy Krishna’s penalty gave Odisha FC the lead, the Juggernauts believed they had earned all three points, but Mumbai City FC’s Argentine striker Jorge Pereyra Diaz equalized the score in the 88th minute. With two games under their belts, both sides have four points in the league.
One of the main talking points of the game was how Mohammad Nawaz, the Islanders’ goalie, missed his chance to step up in Lachenpa’s place. Nawaz was at fault for both goals that Odisha FC scored. He gave away the ball cheaply for the first goal which Jerry Mawia capitalized on. Nawaz fouled Roy Krishna inside the area, resulting in the penalty and the subsequent goal. Mumbai City FC portrayed outstanding resilience to battle back for a draw despite their defensive mistakes.
Parthib Gogoi, the new starboy in town
With a 3-0 victory over Chennaiyin FC, Northeast United FC put a stop to their 10-game losing streak in the ISL. In fact, it was the Highlanders’ first league victory by three goals since 2014. Juan Pedro Benali’s team dominated Chennaiyin FC in practically every aspect of the contest. The Marina Machans have lost two consecutive games in the league, letting in 5 goals and failing to score any themselves.
Parthib Gogoi continued his impressive record in front of goal by scoring once again. With his signature finish from outside the box, he gave Highlanders the lead in the 42nd minute, giving no chance for Samik Mitra. Since his ISL debut, Parthib has now scored more goals from outside the box than any other player. Additionally, his link-up play with Nestor Albiach caused a lot of issues for the Chennaiyin defense, who were all over the place. Phalguni Singh and Asheer Akthar were also among the goalscorers for the Highlanders.
Cleiton Silva is “aging like a fine wine”
East Bengal FC defeated new-look Hyderabad FC 2-1 in the fourth game of the week to record their first victory of the ISL season. Hyderabad FC ultimately lost the game 2-1 despite gaining the lead early on. Carles Cuadrat will be content with the three points even though his team’s performance fell short of expectations.
Javier Siverio was replaced in the starting lineup by Cleiton Silva. By scoring a brace, the Brazilian once again showed his ability. While the Nizams gained an early lead, Cleiton scored in the 10th minute to tie the score. When it was still 1-1 in stoppage time, the 36-year-old scored a stunning free-kick to give his team the victory and all three points. With four free-kick goals thus far in the ISL, Cleiton Silva has tied Marcelinho and Greg Stewart for the most in the league’s history. Cleiton has 16 goals in 31 games for East Bengal, scoring one goal every other game on average. Additionally, he now has goals against every team he has played in the league.
Kerala Blasters continues to impress
For the first time in their history, Kerala Blasters have won their opening two ISL games. At the Blasters’ home stadium, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi, they defeated Scott Cooper’s Jamshedpur FC 1-0. Frank Dauwen’s team managed to win all three points despite a valiant effort from Jamshedpur FC thanks to an outstanding team effort.
The Blasters had a really substandard first half, but they ultimately improved in the second. When Frank Dauwen introduced Diamantakos and Vibin at the hour mark, Blasters had an entirely new look. Adrian Luna completed a superb team play by scoring the game’s only goal in the 74th minute. Luna has now scored in both games this season and is just one goal behind Bart Ogbeche, Kerala Blasters’ all-time leading goal scorer. Not only Luna, but every player performed superbly, leading to the team’s victory. They will now travel to Mumbai for their next game on 8th October.
Manolo Marquez unhappy despite a victory
FC Goa started their ISL campaign with a 1-0 victory over newly promoted side Punjab FC in the final game of game week 2 with Carlos Martinez scoring the decisive goal for the Gaurs in the 17th minute. This was the Gaurs’ first game of the season as they didn’t play in game week one. However, Staikos Vergetis’ Punjab FC has now lost two straight games.
Manolo Marquez was unhappy with his team’s performance despite their victory. He was pleased that FC Goa won the game, but he was upset with the way his team played. He added, “The opponent created some clear chances. In the defensive line, the team was more or less okay. I’m very angry with the performance“. Punjab FC had many opportunities, including the controversial off-side goal by Luka Majcen. Manolo claimed that until his squad finds the appropriate balance, it will be challenging for them to have a successful season this year.
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