Sunil Chhetri is the only Indian in the list.
Ever since the start of the Indian Super League in 2014, football fans in India have witnessed some top goal-scorers. Hailing from different corners of India and the world, they have mesmerized audiences season after season. Several football enthusiasts will agree (and argue) that scoring goals is the most challenging aspect of the game. But to do it three times in one match is truly an extraordinary feat. It is no surprise that elite strikers like Nerijus Valskis and Igor Angulo have failed to score a hattrick despite their exploits in India. In this article, we take a look at five players with the most hat-tricks in the history of ISL.
5. Stiven Mendoza – 2
Donning the blue of Chennaiyin for consecutive seasons in 2014 and 2015, Stiven Mendoza became a fan favorite because of his sheer quality. The Colombian had it all – speed, skills, and finishing. He led Chennaiyin FC to their maiden ISL crown in 2015, scoring 13 goals in just 16 appearances.
On his way to clinching the golden boot, the then 23-year-old scored two hattricks. The first one came against FC Goa at the Fatorda Stadium in a 4-0 rout. Mendoza scored his second hattrick against Kerala Blasters in a 4-1 win in Kochi. His exploits in the ISL secured him a loan move to MLS club New York City FC at the end of the season.
4. Ferran Corominas – 2
Ferran Corominas scored a couple of hattricks during his time with FC Goa. His goalscoring prowess led the Gaurs to the first ISL League Winners Shield in the 2019-20 season. The former FC Goa frontman remains the only player to win the Golden Boot in consecutive seasons.
Coro’s two hattricks came in back-to-back games against Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters in November 2017. Both games yielded high-scoring results for the Gaurs, providing them a head start in a frantic title race.
3. Sunil Chhetri – 2
‘Captain-Leader-Legend’ Sunil Chhetri also has two hattricks to his name in the Indian Super League. Not featuring in the inaugural edition of the competition, the Indian skipper joined Mumbai City FC for the 2015 season. On 28th October, he scored a hattrick against NorthEast United FC in a 5-1 win for the Islanders.
In the 2017/18 season, Chhetri scored his second hattrick against FC Pune City. With the first leg of the semi-final ending in a goalless affair, the second leg was perfectly poised for a Chhetri special. His first goal came from a looping header, the second from a Panenka penalty, and the third was blasted past a helpless Vishal Kaith under the Pune City goal.
Note: Dudu Omagbemi, Marcelinho and Modou Sougou also have two hattricks each in the ISL
2. Iain Hume – 3
Iain Hume was one of the first superstars of the Indian Super League. Donning the yellow of Kerala Blasters in the inaugural season, he won the competition’s first Golden Ball. However, his first hattrick did not come until he changed allegiances to ATK a year later. Even after suffering a head injury against Mumbai in a league game, he went on to score three goals that evening.
Hume’s second hattrick came in late November in a 3-1 win over Pune City, ensuring ATK a playoff spot. Hume returned to Kerala Blasters in the 2017/18 season. The Canadian scored his final hattrick against Delhi Dynamos in a jam-packed Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in front of his home fans.
1. Bartholomew Ogbeche – 3
Big Bart has established himself as one of the greatest strikers to come to India in recent times. The Nigerian has plied his trade for four different clubs in the country and finished as the clubs’ top scorer in every season. It isn’t a surprise that his three hattricks have come for three different clubs.
His first hattrick came in a closely-contested 4-3 win for NorthEast United over Chennaiyin in the 2018/19 season. His second came in another goal-fest, a 6-3 loss for Kerala Blasters against the same opposition (Chennaiyin), a year later. Ogbeche fired his third hattrick in Hyderabad FC colours in a 4-0 win over SC East Bengal last season.
Irrespective of the opposition, the coach, or the system, Bartholomew Ogbeche has proven his mettle in all conditions. He will be itching to continue his legacy in the upcoming season, having signed his first contract extension in India (with the Nizams).