The knockout games have witnessed memorable ties over the years.
From its inception, The ISL have not been a league with many goals being scored in the games. However, certain sides have managed to break that barrier and establish their own identity through their efficiency in front of the net. Particularly, the playoffs have been extremely exciting at times with both teams increasing the intensity and tempo of the matches to register a fair share of goals in those ties. However, the 2019-20 playoffs saw some of the most exciting actions between four teams, which will certainly go down in the memory lane – all for the right reasons.
Here, we will have a look at the five highest scoring ISL playoff encounters over the course of the last six seasons.
5. ATK Vs Chennaiyin FC: 2015 (Six goals)
ATK and Chennaiyin FC played an entertaining semi-final encounter over the course of two legs in the second edition of the ISL. Chenaiyin FC had taken an early 3-0 advantage in the first match through goals from Jeje Lalpekhlua, Stiven Mendoza and Bruno Pelissari.
The Marina Machans went into the second leg with a comfortable lead over the Kolkata-outfit. However, ATK dominated in the second leg, winning 2-1 yet being knocked out with a disparity in the aggregate score.
4. NorthEast United Vs Bengaluru FC: 2018-19 (Six goals)
An inspiring performance by NorthEast United side in the 2018-19 season had steered their way to the ISL playoffs in the last season. However, they came up against the eventual champions Bengaluru FC in the semifinals.
The first leg was tightly contested as two late goals from Xisco Hernandez and Juan Mascia meant that the match ended with the Highlanders attaining a one-goal lead over their opponents. However, Carles Cuadrat’s men were relentless in the return fixture as goals from Miku, Dimas Delgado and Sunil Chhetri helped them emerge victorious with a 4-2 margin in the end.
3. Kerala Blasters Vs Chennaiyin FC: 2014 (Seven goals)
In the first ever ISL playoff encounter, Kerala Blasters scored three goals with their pioneer Iain Hume leading the charge through a strike in the 29th minute. Sushant Matthew had aided Kerala’s case as he tripled their lead in the 93rd minute of the first leg and further piled on the pressure upon the Marina Machans.
Chennaiyin responded strongly, through three goals in the second part of the tie. However, Stephen Pearson had managed to score a goal for Kerala in the 17th minute of the match in Chennai and that played a key role in helping the Blasters edge past their opponents to the finals. Despite Sandesh Jhingan’s own goal and Jeje’s successful attempt in the final 15 minutes, Chennaiyin were left behind when the game ended on a 4-3 aggregate.
2. FC Goa Vs Mumbai City FC: 2018-19 (Seven goals)
FC Goa was a persistently flawless team for most of the period under Sergio Lobera’s time with the club. More importantly, Mumbai City FC had consistently found it difficult to find a way to put a stop over the Gaurs’ seamless run. When the two sides came up against each other in the first leg of the previous campaign’s semifinal, Goa decimated Mumbai by a margin of 5-1 in the Mumbai Football Arena.
Despite Raphael Bastos opening the scoring, the likes of Jackichand Singh, Mourtada Fall, Ferran Corominas and Brandon Fernandes bagged goals to help Goa gain an almost unassailable lead in the initial part of the tie itself. Mumbai did score a goal in the second leg, but the task in front of them was way too difficult to surpass and it showed as Goa resisted any comeback from the Islanders to emerge as the winners with a 5-2 aggregate.
1. Chennaiyin FC Vs FC Goa: 2019-20 (11 Goals)
Chennaiyin FC made their way to the ISL finals of the ongoing season as they trumped over pre-match favorites FC Goa with a subsequent 6-5 margin over the course of two legs. Owen Coyle’s men made the first telling move as they scored four goals until Saviour Gama bagged a late one back for Goa towards the end of the first leg. Lucian Goian and Lallianzuala Chhangte were amongst the scorers but Goa didn’t give in easily in their home encounter.
Mourtada Fall led the comeback in the second leg of the ISL playoffs, as he notched a brace in addition to another goal from Edu Bedia in the 83rd minute. However, Chennaiyin had scored a couple of away goals within a span of seven minutes, courtesy of Chhangte and Valskis. In an encounter that was fought from end to end, Coyle’s team scripted an excellent outcome, advancing to the final with an aggregate score of 6-5.