Indian Football

Top five longest unbeaten runs in Indian Football

Uttiyo SarkarUttiyo Sarkar

May 31 2023
Indian Football

Back-to-back I-League championships propel Gokulam Kerala to the top of this list.

The unpredictability of football ensures that any team can lose any point of their season. Even though it’s normal for any team to win a few games on the stretch, actually maintaining an unbeaten streak of many games in a row can be tricky.

The competitiveness in Indian football has increased over the last decade and that has made it even more difficult for teams to go on unbeaten streaks. With that being said, some teams have used the momentum to their advantage to record some impressive unbeaten streaks and go many matches without losing. Here we’ll look at the top-5 unbeaten runs in Indian football in the 21st century.

5. FC Goa (2020-21 ISL) – 15 games

FC Goa actually had a pretty shaky start to the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) campaign – the first one held behind closed doors in Goa. They lost three of their first seven games and only picked up eight points from a possible 21. But after that, however, they gained their form and got a boost with two wins against Jamshedpur FC and Hyderabad FC.

Juan Ferrando inspired the turnaround and ensured that the Gaurs did not lose their momentum despite facing a lot of adversity.  They went on an impressive unbeaten run that stretched 15 games, but also included nine draws! They were able to earn a place in the ISL playoffs, where their unbeaten streak was ended in the second leg of the semi-final against Mumbai City.

4. ATK Mohun Bagan (2021-22 ISL) – 15 games

Just like he did at FC Goa, Juan Ferrando also led ATK Mohun Bagan through an impressive unbeaten streak in the season he joined them. The Spaniard replaced Antonio Habas, who actually started this unbeaten run with two draws. Ferrando just picked upon that and got ATK Mohun Bagan back to winning ways with gritty wins over NorthEast United and his former side FC Goa in his first two matches in charge.

The Mariners soon gained a lot of confidence and showcased impressive resilience to keep their ambitious ISL title charge, as they went on a 15-game unbeaten run that included eight wins. However, the run was snapped by eventual 2021/22 ISL league champions in the final game of the league stages, with the Men of Steel breaking ATKMB with a 1-0 win.

3. Churchill Brothers (2009-2010 I-League) – 17 games

Churchill Brothers was a dominating force in the I-League towards the end of the 2000s decade. Inspired by Nigerian striker Odafa Okolie, who scored 24 goals in the 2008/2009 I-league season – they were able to clinch that title. They maintained their dominance towards the start of the 2009/10 campaign as well, clinching points in every game to solidify their title charge towards defending their title.

The Goa-based side went on a 17-match unbeaten streak that started on February 2009 and ended on January 2010. This included a number of crushing wins and a period of dominance that will be remembered in the I-League folklore for many years to come.

Okolie celebrates a goal (Credit: Xtratime)

2. Mumbai City FC (2022-23 ISL) – 18 games

Mumbai City FC put on a display of unmatched dominance in the ISL last season and were nearly flawless all through the league stages. Even though their season started with an entertaining draw against Hyderabad FC, Des Buckingham’s side only kept getting better from there. The Islanders outclassed all their opponents, producing some beautiful attacking football and soaring to the league title. Buckingham turned his side into an unstoppable unit that just did not want to accept a loss at all, finding their way to avoid losing repeatedly.

In the end, they went on an amazing 18-game unbeaten streak last season in the ISL, soaring their way to winning 14 of those games and only drawing four times. In the end, their unbeaten streak was ended up Bengaluru FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, before East Bengal also defeated them in the final game of the league stages.

The Islanders treated us to some spell-binding football (Credit: ISL Media)

1. Gokulam Kerala (2021-22 I-League) – 23 games

When Gokulam Kerala kick-started their I-League title defence in the 2021-22 season, they probably didn’t expect themselves to create history in Indian football. But the Malabarians just rode on a surge of momentum from winning the 2020-21 title and brought their rich vein of form into the 2021-22 campaign as well. Gokulam just surged their way into an amazing unbeaten streak, which included big wins over Real Kashmir, Kenkre FC and Roundglass Punjab FC.

They managed to surpass the record set by Churchill Brothers and go on an amazing unbeaten streak of 23 games, which included 18 in the 2021/22 season and five towards the end of the 2020/21 season. This is an amazing unbeaten streak for any side in Indian football and is unlikely to be broken anytime soon.

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