Most clubs have a 37.5% win rate in the initial stage of the league.

The start of the 2022/23 Indian Super League is just around the corner. The campaign is all set to begin on October 7, with Kerala Blasters facing East Bengal. It will mark the fifth consecutive season in which the Yellow Army will be kicking things off.

The opening game of the season is always a crucial one for teams. An early boost in momentum can help any side bolster their chances of winning the league phase or qualifying for the playoffs. Since the inception of the ISL, some teams have had a solid history of starting their campaigns with positive results. Others haven’t been so lucky with it.

With the new ISL season kicking off in a few weeks’ time, we analyze which teams have the best opening game record in the history of the league.

Bengaluru FC (60% win rate)

Bengaluru FC aren’t exactly an ‘ISL original’, as they joined only in the 2017/18 season. However, they have featured in the competition for some time now and are considered a major ISL giant. The former champions have a history of starting their ISL seasons strongly. Since winning their inaugural ISL match against Mumbai City in 2017, they haven’t looked back.

Bengaluru FC won the ISL 2018-19 (Courtesy: ISL Media)

Bengaluru FC have won three out of their five opening week games in the ISL so far. They’ve drawn the other two and are the only team in ISL’s history who are yet to lose an opening game. They have a 60% win rate in ISL’s opening fixtures, the best for any side in its history. They’ll hope to continue this record with a win over NorthEast United on October 8.

ATK Mohun Bagan (50% win rate)

The Kolkata giants have been a major force in the ISL ever since its inception in 2014. They have gone through a number of name changes, from Atletico de Kolkata, to ATK before merging with Mohun Bagan to create ATK Mohun Bagan. Irrespective of their name, they’ve been a dominant force in the ISL – having won the title three times in six seasons.

They have been in the ISL finals on four occasions as well and have a reputation of beginning seasons strongly. In eight ISL season openers, the Kolkata side have won on four occasions – the most opening day wins in the league’s history. They have drawn and lost twice each, resulting in a 50% win rate. That means they have the second-best ISL opening game record, and the best for teams to have featured in all eight campaigns.

Jamshedpur FC (40% win rate)

Just like Bengaluru FC, Jamshedpur FC also joined the ISL in the 2017/18 season. Having a rich history in Indian football thanks to the Tata Football Academy, the Men of Steel added more diversity to the league. Since debuting in the league, the club has gone on to win the league championship once, which came last season. Jamshedpur have also been decent in starting their campaigns since their debut.

Jamshedpur FC celebrating after winning the ISL League Winners’ Shield (Courtesy: ISL Media)

They’ve won two out of the five season openers in the history of the competition, drawing twice and losing only once. With a 40% win rate, they have a better history of starting campaigns than many other ISL ‘originals’. They’ll aim to improve upon this record when they face Odisha FC in the season opener this time.

Other teams:

Chennaiyin FC: three wins, four losses, one draw (37.5% win rate)

Delhi Dynamos/Odisha FC: three wins, three losses, two draws (37.5% win rate)

FC Goa: three wins, two draws, three losses (37.5% win rate)

Hyderabad FC/FC Pune City: two wins, two draws, four losses (25% win rate)

Kerala Blasters: three wins, one draws, four losses (37.5% win rate)

Mumbai City: three wins, zero draws, five losses (37.5% win rate)

NorthEast United: three wins, three draws, two losses (37.5% win rate)

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