Century of Goals and more: Action packed ISL 2023-24 Matchweek 8 gets fans to the edge of their seats

Goals galore headlined the eighth matchweek of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24, as teams sprang into action with multiple high-scoring thrillers capturing the imagination of the audience.

From Kerala Blasters FC sparking a late comeback to pluck a point from their 3-3 draw against Chennaiyin FC, to Punjab FC producing a classic performance away against Bengaluru FC; it was a week to remember in the on-going season of the ISL.

A little over two months into the season, it appears that the teams are getting into their best rhythm to operate as well-gelled units and results of the same are showing in the free-flowing football they are unfolding on the field. Here are some of the major highlights from the previous six matches of Matchweek 8.

100th goal of ISL 2023-24!

Punjab FC produced a relentless effort to hold Bengaluru FC to a 3-3 draw at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Thursday. However, the opening strike by Nikhil Prabhu in that high-scoring thriller brought up a remarkable feat, i.e. the 100th goal of the current ISL season.

So far, 114 goals have been notched in 44 games, which averages to 2.59 strikes per match in this campaign. The season started off briskly, with the increased competitiveness between sides resulting in more closely-fought encounters. However, there was a proven effort from clubs this week to break out of their shackles and that gave rise to victories by bigger margins altogether.

Sharp tacticians’ standout and make an impact

Seasoned coaches always make a difference to help their team edge out the opposition in crunch encounters. The duo of Sergio Lobera and Manolo Marquez has been around the league for long, and they have made significant impacts with their comprehensive philosophies and timely in-game management.

In addition to their renowned coaching blueprints, it is also the brave calls they make during games that help them outthink the opposition when the states run high. From the benching of Diego Mauricio in favour of Roy Krishna by Lobera to the optimisation of Rowllin Borges and his goal-scoring abilities by Marquez, the two of them played the right cards that delivered tangible results helping their sides’ secure narrow 1-0 victories to get higher up in the points table. 

Matches of firsts for the Kolkata giants

Mohun Bagan Super Giant and East Bengal stand tall as the most iconic clubs in Indian football. The organic, deeply entrenched fan following that they garner is arguably second to none, and them doing well can only end up being good for the sport in India in general. The two clubs were coming into this week on the back of some indifferent results behind their back.

The Mariners had lost 5-2 to Odisha FC at home in the AFC Cup, whereas the Red & Gold Brigade hadn’t won an ISL game in over two months. Buoyed by proven ISL winning coaches, they gave a strong response, keeping clean sheets and putting goals aplenty past the opposition to notch a thoroughly convincing victory. At 5-0 against NorthEast United FC, East Bengal FC recorded their biggest ever win in ISL history. Similarly, Brendan Hamill and Asish Rai scored their first-ever ISL goals to lead the Mariners to a 2-0 win over Hyderabad FC.

High-scoring entertainers delight passionate fans

Kochi and Kolkata are two of the prime, popular footballing hubs of India, whereas Bengaluru has emerged as one of the newest sensations in the map for the sport within the country. These cities take the sport seriously, support their teams wholeheartedly, and deserve to see performances worthy of the efforts they undertake to show their love for the game.

To their benefit, they were witness to some absolute end-to-end entertainers this week, with Chennaiyin FC’s 3-3 draw against Kerala Blasters FC followed by a draw with a similar scoreline between Punjab FC and Bengaluru FC in the City of Gardens.

Carles Cuadrat capped off the proceedings with his 5-0 impact of the Highlanders at the Salt Lake. Midway into the season, this week was the perfect impetus that was needed to inject a new wave of enthusiasm and excitement amongst the fans for the season. The fact that these matches ended up taking place in the aforementioned cities added four feathers to their achievements.

Matchweek 9 – Preview

The upcoming week will see five matches, starting off with the faceoff between Mohun Bagan Super Giant and Odisha FC in Kolkata. Jamshedpur FC and Bengaluru FC will be hosting Chennaiyin FC and Mumbai City FC respectively, whereas Punjab FC will travel to the Salt Lake Stadium seeking their inaugural win of the season against East Bengal FC. The NorthEast United FC-Hyderabad FC clash will round off the matchweek.

Team of the Week

Goalkeeper: Amrinder Singh (Odisha FC)

Defenders: Robin Yadav (Bengaluru FC), Odei Onaindia (FC Goa), Subhasish Bose (Mohun Bagan Super Giant), Jay Gupta (FC Goa)

Midfielders: Ahmed Jahouh (Odisha FC), Naorem Mahesh Singh (East Bengal FC), Nandhakumar Sekar (East Bengal FC)

Forwards: Cleiton Silva (East Bengal FC), Dimitrios Diamantakos (Kerala Blasters FC), Jordan Murray (Chennaiyin FC)

If not registered already, fans can participate in the overall league or club-based leagues based on their preferences. Create private leagues, inviting friends and fellow football aficionados to compete. Prizes include a Sony PlayStation®️5 gaming console, EA Sports FC 24, signed club merchandise, and a Gift Card worth INR 20,000, will be awarded to 100 winners at the end of the season.

ISL MW8 Fantasy Roundup

MW winner points: 84

Avg matchweek points: 45

Top point scorers:

Nandha Kumar- 12 points (EBFC)

Dimitrios Diamantakos- 12 points (KBFC)

Asish Rai- 11 points (MBSG)

Kwamhe Peprah- 11 points (KBFC)

Brendan Hamill- 11 points (MBSG)

Players to watch out for in MW9

Sahal Samad (OFC)

Sunil Chhetri (MCFC)

Jorge Pareyra Diaz (BFC)

Juan Mera (EBFC)

Where to catch the ISL action

Fans across the country can catch the action in English, Hindi, Bengali, and Malayalam. Fans can watch the action on linear channels like Sports18 Khel (Hindi), Sports18 1 SD & HD (English), Sports18 3 SD (English, Hindi, Malayalam and Bengali), VH1 SD & HD (English), Surya Movies (Malayalam) & DD Bangla (Bengali). In addition to this, as part of FSDL’s partnership with One Football, ISL live streams and highlights of all matches of the upcoming 2023-24 season will be delivered across more than 190 countries.

Also Read: Mohun Bagan Super Giant take on Odisha FC with redemption on their mind

Also Read: DK Pharma and GMSC-MYJ share spoils in Mumbai Premier League Clash

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