Matchweek 7 of the Indian Super League brought more thrills, upsets and unimaginable comebacks with super-subs leading the way. This action-packed Matchweek gave spectators a total of 18 goals, including the 100th goal of the ISL this season. Let’s look back at the biggest highlights.
Well rested super-subs make heavy impact
Matchweek 7 involved teams using the full extent of the new ISL breaks of upto a week between games - many teams tested out well-prepared new talents from their squads in their starting XIs, keeping some of their stars on the bench to bring the impact if needed.
In the second game of Matchweek 7, Odisha FC put on a resilient display at the Salt Lake Stadium as they came from behind to defeat East Bengal FC. The Juggernauts were two goals down at half-time. Head coach Josep Gombau rolled the dice with four substitutes, and the right numbers came up - his side scored four second-half goals, three of which came from the substitutes, to snatch all three points. Pedro Martin stole the show after bagging a two-minute brace just two minutes after coming on.
Super-subs were the topic of discussion again when Chennaiyin FC added to the woes of injury-riddled Jamshedpur FC to earn their first win on home soil this season. A minute into the final quarter of the game, the game was tied at one-a-piece when head coach Thomas Brdaric decided to throw Vincy Baretto and Abdenasser El Khayati on.
Moments later, Baretto scored with his first touch of the match, assisted by El Khayati. Not too long after that, El Khayati himself glided through the Jamshedpur defence and got on the scoresheet as Chennaiyin FC secured a 3-1 win.
Kerala Blasters surge and win ISL 2021-22 final rematch
At the G.M.C. Balayogi Athletic Stadium in Hyderabad, the stage was set for a repeat of last year’s ISL final as Hyderabad FC hosted Kerala Blasters FC. The hosts were in formidable touch coming into the match, having kept 5 clean sheets in 6 games.
However, Ivan Vukomanovic’s men were able to stop the defending champions in their tracks, put an end to their undefeated run this campaign and stopped them from scoring for the first time this season - all while sealing their third win on the trot after losing three in a row to end October.
Ferrando loses to his former side, and MCFC contribute again as ISL hits century mark
From six goals in one game to ten goals in two, Mumbai City FC remained consistent on the pitch and clinical in front of goal. Following a 6-2 win in Matchweek 6, The Islanders sailed past Bengaluru FC with a commanding 4-0 victory in which all four goals came from different players, displaying the prolific attacking prowess of the men donning sky blue. This was their fourth win and third clean sheet of the season, as the deficit between first and second was cut down to one.
Matchweek 7 was wrapped up in style as FC Goa ended their winless streak against ATK Mohun Bagan FC with aplomb. The Gaurs not only scored three goals past the Mariners but also kept a clean sheet - their first goal bringing up 100 goals this season - signifying ATK Mohun Bagan’s failure to score a goal for the first time this season.
The substitutes were the talk of the table again in the final game of Matchweek 7 as Mohamed Fares Arnaout and Noah Wail Sadaoui came on in the second half to score the second and third goals of the match, giving Carlos Pena a crucial win over the former head coach of FC Goa.
As one exhilarating Matchweek ends, another one arrives this week, bringing more fast-paced encounters to stadiums which have come back to life this season. Odisha FC will host Chennaiyin FC at home to try and keep up their momentum after a comeback win, while FC Goa will face off against Bengaluru FC who have not scored in four games now. At the weekend, it will be a clash of two wounded giants as ATK Mohun Bagan take on league leaders Hyderabad FC, who will be put under pressure by Mumbai FC who are one point behind in second place.