The new year brings along the excitement for ,heavyweight clashes scheduled in the upcoming weeks.
The turn of the year and indeed of the decade has clubs all around the subcontinent filled with new hope and vigour to grow and perform at their best. Despite half the season having gone by and the year 2020 ticking in, the Indian Super League (ISL) table remains wide open, with every one of the clubs involved more than capable of grabbing a coveted playoffs spot.
This competition for places is sure to mean that fans of the game can look forward to a number of tantalizing fixtures. Here is a list of the top five matches to look forward to in the ISL in 2020 :
5. Odisha FC Vs FC Goa
The newly-formed Odisha FC are enjoying a reasonable first season in the Indian Super League. Sitting at sixth in the table, Josep Gombau’s men have their eyes firmly set on fourth place and a spot in the playoffs. However, on the 29th of January, they will find in their way an FC Goa side who finished 2019 with considerable aplomb, only losing the one ISL game since the start of the campaign.
The match will have on display some of the league’s best players, both Indian and foreign. It promises to be quite the tantalizing prospect for the neutrals.
4. Mumbai City FC Vs Jamshedpur FC
Mumbai City had edged the Men of Steel 2-1 in their previous fixture at The Furnace.
Jorge Costa’s Mumbai City FC currently sit in fourth place, three points clear of Jamshedpur FC in fifth. The ‘Men of Steel’, however, will be raring for an opportunity to claim the fourth playoff spot as their own. This opportunity will arrive on the 6th of February when two of the league’s most consistent teams will face-off against each other in Mumbai.
Antonio Iriondo will be hoping that the New Year brings to his side a level of consistency that they so desperately require, in addition to their evident talent in order to move forward in the league.
3. Mumbai City FC Vs Bengaluru FC
In a tale of defence against attack, Mumbai City will take on the reigning ISL champions, Bengaluru FC in a clash of two teams involved in the fight for top spot. Mumbai have been outscored only by ATK and FC Goa so far this season, but have only conceded less goals than bottom-placed Hyderabad FC. On the other side of the coin, Bengaluru have scored just 13 goals this campaign but possess the best defensive record in the league, only conceding seven times in 11 games played.
The clash will also play a vital role in the race for the playoffs in a tightly-packed ISL table.
2. FC Goa Vs Mumbai City FC
The side from Goa have displayed a panache and grace that belies the fact that the club is as young as it is. With just two defeats this campaign, the Goans have made a tremendous case for the top spot. This panache saw Sergio Lobera’s side take Mumbai City FC apart away from home, winning the game 2-4. However, as was shown against Chennaiyin FC, Goa do possess a soft underbelly, a fact that Jorge Costa will be more than alert to.
The match between two of the country’s most promising clubs is sure to have its share of twists, making it an exiting prospect for fans of the ISL in 2020.
1. ATK Vs FC Goa
On the 18th of January, the two clubs who currently sit at the top of the Indian Super League table will battle in a city that has come to be the crucible of Indian football. Quite the fitting location for a clash between two of the best sides in the country. Ferran Corominas and Co. will be relishing the chance to take on ATK, who are no slouches themselves in the attacking department, with the likes of David Williams and Roy Krishna lighting up the ISL with their goalscoring exploits.
The two sides have scored 41 goals between them so far this campaign, making the match at Kolkata one to look forward to from an attacking standpoint. The fact that ATK will be looking to take revenge on the Gaurs for the 2-1 loss they suffered earlier in the season, makes it that much more tantalizing.
The ISL games in 2020 will come thick and fast, each with its own subplots and storylines. It was not possible for all of these games to make it onto this list, but here are some honourable mentions :
- Bengaluru FC Vs Odisha FC
- Mumbai City FC Vs NorthEast United FC
- Jamshedpur FC Vs ATK