These strikes have brought an end to ecstatic games in the competition’s history.
Over its seven-year period, the Indian Super League (ISL) has sparked an impressive evolution in the Indian football fraternity. The introduction of better foreign signings, the improvement in infrastructure and training methods for the players has had a positive impact in helping improve the level of domestic talents which the league promised to do.
As the league nears the end of its seventh season, there have been numerous memorable moments over the years. These include thrilling, unpredictable late winning goals in some memorable games. Goals scored at the absolute dying moments of the games, deep into injury-time have come aplenty over the seasons. Here we look at the 10 most dramatic injury-goals in ISL history.
10. Arata Izumi Vs Kerala Blasters (Kerala Blasters 2-3 Atletico de Kolkata – 2015)
After Atletico de Kolkata’s win over Kerala Blasters in the final of the inaugural ISL season, the Blasters were vying for revenge in their game in Kerala in the 2015 season. The end-to-end game between the two produced five goals with both teams playing some of their best attacking football of the campaign.
Kerala’s star striker Antonio German who was in prime form scored twice. He seemed to have won a point for his side with his strike in the 85th minute to make it 2-2. But Arata Izumi had other ideas. As Atletico de Kolkata bombed forward to get the winner, Izumi got it by finishing a brilliant team move to score a superb winner in the 93rd minute to help his side gain a big advantage in the playoffs race.
9. Rowllin Borges Vs Bengaluru FC (Bengaluru FC 2-3 Mumbai City – 2019-20)
The two top four hopefuls Mumbai City and Bengaluru FC played out an absolute thriller in Bengaluru in December 2019, but it was finished off in ideal fashion thanks to Rowllin Borges’ heroics. The game itself was a real goalfest that started with Subasish Bose’s strike in the 12th minute to put his side in the lead.
That was cancelled out by a Mato Grgic own-goal in the 58th minute, but the Islanders took the lead again thanks to Diego Carlos’ sweet strike in the 77th. However, Bengaluru rallied back and Sunil Chhetri’s penalty in the 89th minute seemed to share the spoils. Mumbai, although, tapped into their never-say-die attitude and found a stunning winner in the 94th minute when Borges cleverly tapped the ball into the net after a corner to give his side a famous win against the former defending ISL champions.
8. Nerijus Valskis Vs Hyderabad FC (Chennaiyin FC 2-1 Hyderabad FC – 2019-20)
Chennaiyin FC had the worst possible start to the 2019-20 season, losing three out of their first four games and not being able to score a single goal. As questions started to raise around their summer recruitment and foreign signings in particular, Nerijus Valskis came up big to prove his worth with an impressive display against Hyderabad FC. The game itself was a dull encounter between two struggling sides, but sparked into life when Andre Schembri scored in the 92nd minute to seemingly win the game for the Marina Machans.
However, HFC defender Matthew Kilgallon scored a clever header to equalizer three minutes later to break CFC fans’ hearts. But Valskis refused to let it end like that and scored a stunning winner – waltzing past defenders before beating an onrushing Kamaljit Singh to get the first of his 15 goals scored for Chennaiyin in the 2019-20 season.
7. Sahil Tavora Vs Chennaiyin FC (FC Goa 5-4 Chennaiyin FC – 2016)
FC Goa had their worst season in ISL history in the 2016 season, finishing 8th after being unable to impress under Brazilian legend Zico. However, the Gaurs kept true to their reputation of thrilling attacking football in their final game of the season against Chennaiyin FC. This time, however, Goa came out on top after an incredible game. A game which produced nine goals (the highest-ever in the league’s history before Odisha FC & SC East Bengal’s 11 goal thriller triumphed over it recently) it was young midfielder Sahil Tavora who came out on top.
With the game pitted at 4-4 head into added time thanks to John Arne Riise’s penalty in the 88th minute, Tavora came up big in added time. The youngster found the ball on the left wing and decided to take on the defenders, cutting back into the centre and taking a wicked shot from outside the box that powered into the net. The Goa fans went ecstatic with a thrilling finale to the game and Tavora gained a heroic status for his incredible strike.
6. Juan Mascia vs Kerala Blasters (NorthEast United 2-1 Kerala Blasters – 2018-19)
NorthEast United showed a lot of spirit in their memorable 2018-19 season under Eelco Schattorie which also marked the first time they had ever qualified for the playoffs. One game pivotal for them getting to those stages was the comeback win over Kerala Blasters at home in the campaign. Coming into the game off a disappointing loss to Mumbai City, the Islanders fell back thanks to an opener from Matej Poplatnik in the 73rd minute.
When it seemed it would be back-to-back losses, Bartholomew Ogbeche gave them a lifeline with his penalty two minutes into injury-time. But it was some Mascia magic that settled the tie. In the 95th minute, Rowllin Borges passed the ball to Juan Mascia inside the right hand side of the penalty area. The Uruguayan took an ambitious shot from an awkward angle that absolutely blasted into the net, sending the entire stadium into a frenzy, marking a special win.
5. Rahul Bheke Vs FC Goa (Bengaluru FC 1-0 FC Goa – 2018-19 Final)
Bengaluru FC and FC Goa went into the 2018-19 final as the undisputed best teams in the country. The game itself, however, was a cagey one which just didn’t seem intent on producing goals. Extra-time was forced and as the minutes ticked on, it seemed penalties were inevitable. Until Rahul Bheke decided against it.
The Mumbai-born lad jumped high to score from a corner in the 117th minute, minutes before the end of the extra-time to win the ISL for his side in his hometown! While not a goal exactly in injury-time, that late winner will remain one of the most memorable ones in the history of BFC.
4. Idrissa Sylla Vs ATK Mohun Bagan (NorthEast 1-1 ATK Mohun Bagan – 2020-21 Playoffs First-leg)
Going into the first leg of NorthEast United’s playoffs game against ATK Mohun Bagan, Idrissa Sylla was experiencing a topsy-turvy form having lost his spot in the regular lineup to Deshorn Brown. But with Brown missing, the former QPR striker stepped up and save his side from a loss in the first leg.
With the Mariners looking destined to secure a narrow win thanks to David Williams’ first-half strike, Sylla decided to turn things up. Having come up as a second-half substitute, the striker popped up in the far-post and powered in Luis Machado’s cross past a hapless Arindam Bhattacharya – ensuring that the Highlanders have a strong chance of qualifying for final and enough to play for in the second leg.
3. Ishan Pandita Vs Mumbai City (Mumbai City 3-3 FC Goa – 2020-21)
Ishan Pandita has proven to be a real diamond in the rough for FC Goa and defined the role of a super-sub this season. But his best performance came against league-winners Mumbai City in the 3-3 draw between the two sides earlier this season. Pandita came on late into the game and saw his side fall to down to a 2-3 deficit, but never gave up heart.
In the 95th minute, Edu Bedia floated in a great cross which he met with an expert header to make it 3-3, breaking the Islanders’ hearts and proving why there’s nobody better to bring off the bench when you need goals in crucial moments like these.
2. Mohammed Rafique Vs Kerala Blasters (Kerala Blasters 0-1 Atletico de Kolkata – 2014 Final)
But among the first prominent ‘super-sub’ displays in the ISL came in the final of the inaugural edition which was overall a cagey game between Kerala Blasters and Atletico de Kolkata. Mohammed Rafique was brought on in the 74th minute to solidify the Kolkata side’s midfield more than anything else. However, he ended up winning Antonio Habas’ side their first-ever ISL title.
It came right in the dying embers of the game, when Rafique jumped highest during a corner to slot home a winner in the 95th minute to bring the ISL trophy to the City of Joy and introduce himself in an emphatic fashion to the Indian football scene.
1. Stiven Mendoza Vs FC Goa (FC Goa 2-3 Chennaiyin FC – 2015 Final)
One of the best matches in ISL history also features arguably the most dramatic match-winner in the league’s history. In the 2015 final, two attack-minded teams FC Goa and Chennaiyin FC decided to go at each other’s throats to entertain the fans in Goa. After a tensed first half, all hell broke loose in the second. Chennaiyin actually took the lead thanks to Bruno Pelissari’s strike in the 54th minute before Goa romped back with strikes from Semboi Haokip and Jofre late on.
However, Mendoza had his say when it seemed the game was nearly dusted. After an own-goal from Laxmikant Kattimani in stoppage time, Mendoza stepped up in the 91st minute, dribbling past multiple players before thumping the ball past the Goa goalkeeper to win it for his team. Mendoza ended the tournament as top scorer with 13 goals and that was the one that mattered the most!