These matches were all edge-of-the-seat thrillers.
It has been an action-packed calendar year both on and off the pitch. From a successful ISL season inside a bio-bubble to India’s record SAFF Championship triumph, we saw it all. It was a historic year that saw two Indian coaches taking over the reins of ISL clubs on a permanent basis.
It was also a year when Sunil Chhetri broke multiple records and was honoured with the Khel Ratna. Despite all the ups and downs, the Indian Super League (ISL) kept the morale high among football fans.
With the world all set to draw the curtains on another year and step out into 2022, Khel Now takes a look at the top 10 ISL matches of 2021:
10. Hyderabad FC 6-1 Odisha FC
The Nizams ran riot against Odisha FC and clinched their biggest ever win in the Indian top flight. Bartholomew Ogbeche’s brace, an own-goal from either side and a goal each from Joao Victor, Edu Garcia and super substitute Javier Siverio summed up the seven-goal thriller.
9. Odisha FC 6-5 SC East Bengal
This fixture marked a picture-perfect ending to the league stage of the 2020-21 season. The two bottom-placed teams played out the highest-scoring fixture in the history of the league that staged 11 goals.
8. Mumbai City FC 2-4 Bengaluru FC
A six-goal thriller was showcased when high-flyers Mumbai City FC came up against Bengaluru FC. Cleiton Silva and skipper Sunil Chhetri scored a brace each for the Blues and Adam le Fondre was on the scoresheet twice for the Islanders.
Moreover, Silva’s first goal was the second-fastest in the history of the league, as he found the back of the net in just 25 seconds.
7. ATK Mohun Bagan 4-2 Kerala Blasters
What a game it was to get the eighth edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) underway. It set the benchmark for top matches in ISL 2021-22. The Mariners showed off their attacking prowess and took a toll of the Blasters.
Big summer signings Hugo Boumous and Liston Colaco, alongside their skipper Roy Krishna found the back of the net for the Kolkata giants. Sahal Abdul Samad along with Jorge Pereyra Diaz scored for the Blasters.
6. Mumbai City FC 0-3 Kerala Blasters FC
Kerala Blasters took everyone’s breath away after defeating the defending champions 0-3, that too when no one expected them to. Sahal Abdul Samad, Alvaro Vazquez and Jorge Pereyra Diaz were on the scoresheet for the Blasters, in what will go down as a historic night at the Fatorda.
5. Mumbai City FC 1-2 NorthEast United FC
Just when everyone thought that Mumbai City have turned on their herculean mode, NorthEast United pulled off the unthinkable. Khalid Jamil’s side clinched their third victory in a row for the very first time and brought an end to Mumbai’s unbeaten run of 12 matches.
4. Mumbai City FC 2-1 ATK Mohun Bagan
The ISL final was a contrast of multiple emotions. The Mariners were so close yet so far from the title, but individual mistakes came back to haunt them.
David Williams scored the opener, but an own-goal from Tiri and a last-minute winner from Bipin Singh ensured the first ISL title for Sergio Lobera and Co.
3. Mumbai City FC 6-5 FC Goa
Action and drama go hand-in-hand every time the Islanders face-off against the Gaurs. Things came down to the wire in the second leg of the semi-final, when neither of the two teams managed to break the deadlock in 120-odd minutes. It came down to sudden penalties. Rowllin Borges kept his cool and sealed the deal for the Islanders.
2. Mumbai City FC 5-1 ATK Mohun Bagan
Des Buckingham’s side ran amok when they came up against the Mariners in November. Mumbai City dominated the game as if they were playing against a random Sunday League side. ATK Mohun Bagan were handed their biggest defeat in the ISL, as the Islanders brought their A-game to the table.
1. Mumbai City FC 3-3 FC Goa
‘Never-say-die’ would be the perfect tagline for this fixture, which undoubtedly would be among the top matches of ISL 2021. It was a game of two contrasting halves full of end-to-end drama, goals and emotions.
The Islanders found the back of the net thrice and just when it seemed that they’d walk away with a victory, FC Goa scripted a comeback to remember for ages.