Indian Super League: Top ten moments from the Indian football tournament

With the fourth edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) set to begin on November 17, Hindustan Times takes a look at the top ten moments from previous editions of the tournament

indian super league 2017 Updated: Nov 16, 2017 22:42 IST
Sarthak Bal
Sarthak Bal
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Indian Super League,ISL 2017-18,Kerala Blasters FC‬
ATK celebrate winning the Indian Super League (ISL) 2016. (AFP)

The 2017-18 edition of the Indian Super League is all set to begin on November 17, 2017. The first game of the season will see defending champions ATK take on the side they beat last year in the final, Kerala Blasters.

The game is sure to be an exciting one, especially given the history between the two sides; ATK have twice beaten the Blasters to win the final of the ISL.

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This season of the ISL will see several changes, with two new teams entering the fray as well as changes in managerial and player personnel from both sides.

Ahead of what looks likely to be a thrilling season of football action, Hindustan Times takes a look back at ten memorable moments from previous editions of the tournament:

12 October, 2014: Fikru nets first goal

On the opening night for the ISL in Kolkata, Ethiopian footballer Fikru Teferra etched his name in history by becoming the competition’s first-ever goal scorer.

The Atletico de Kolkata frontman netted against Mumbai City FC in the first half, chipping Indian goalkeeper Subrata Paul in a fully-packed Salt Lake Stadium.

15 October, 2014: Balwant Singh becomes first Indian goalscorer

In a tournament built to generate Indian football stars, Balwant Singh, then a Chennaiyin FC player, secured his place in India’s football history by becoming the first Indian to score in the ISL.

The Indian international, who will turn out for Mumbai City FC this year, put the ball past FC Goa’s keeper Jan Seda in the fourth match of the ISL at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa.

16 December, 2014: Kerala Blasters set up dream final

The second leg of the semifinal encounter between Kerala Blasters and Chennaiyin FC in Chennai is widely regarded as the best match of the inaugural season. Kerala had raced to a 3-0 lead in the first leg at Kochi, but Chennaiyin clawed their way back in the reverse fixture with three unanswered goals, taking the tie to extra-time.

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Stephen Pearson scored in the 117th minute to break Chennaiyin hearts and make it 4-3 on aggregate to the Kerala’s advantage; thus setting up historic final against Atletico de Kolkata to commemorate India’s latest football league.

20 December, 2014: Maiden title goes to Kolkata

As India’s most football loving states fittingly found representation in the maiden final of the ISL at DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai, Atletico de Kolkata beat the Kerala Blasters to earn the bragging rights of being crowned the first champions.

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Kolkata’s Mohammed Rafique scored what turned out to be the winner in the dying minutes of the game to bring the title to Kolkata and draw the curtain on the inaurgal tournament.

October 28, 2015: First Indian hat-trick hero

It took more than a year, in fact more than a season, for the ISL to find its first Indian hat-trick hero. And who else could it have been! India’s skipper and record goal-scorer Sunil Chhetri was up to the task in the second run; his debut season.

On loan to Mumbai City FC then, Chhetri grabbed his record-setting hat-trick off two penalties and a close range volley against Northeast United FC at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.

17 November, 2015: Seven goals to none

FC Goa ran rampant against Mumbai City FC in the 100th game of the ISL. They scored seven goals against their visitors to record the biggest ever win in the history of the tournament so far.

Thongkhosiem Haokip and Dudu Omagbeni both scored hat-tricks as substitute Reinaldo Oliveira added the seventh in the 90th minute.

20 December, 2015: Chennaiyin FC crowned champions

Chennaiyin FC made amends for their semifinal exit in the first season to beat FC Goa in a thrilling five goal contest thus securing the second title. Chennaiyin overcame defending champions Atletico de Kolkata in the semifinals before edging out Zico’s FC Goa in the final at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa.


Chennaiyin’s top scorer Stiven Mendoza, who also claimed the Golden Boot that year, scored the winner in stoppage time.

11 November, 2016: Indians dominate Zico’s lineup

Suspensions and injuries had rocked FC Goa’s camp in the third edition of the ISL. But from their misfortunes, a bit of history was created. Goa’s manager – the legendary Brazilian Zico, fielded nine Indian players in their game against NorthEast United FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa.

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This was the first time in the history of the ISL that nine Indians had made the starting eleven of an ISL team, especially when each team was allowed to play a maximum of six foreign players. FC Goa went onto win the game 2-1.

1 December, 2016: Highest scoring game

FC Goa and Chennaiyin FC make the list one again. Both the teams had no scope of making the semifinals at this point as they faced each other in their final game. While the result may have been inconsequential, it provided the ISL with its highest scoring game.

The nine goal thriller ended in Goa’s favour. Chennaiyin were first to the score sheet in the 4th minute while Goa’s winner came in the 94th minute.

18 December, 2016: Double joy for the ‘City of Joy’

In a repeat of the first ever ISL final, Atletico de Kolkata and Kerala Blasters found themselves in a similar position, only this time it was in the Kerala’s backyard. But once again, it was Atletico de Kolkata that came away with Indian football’s biggest prize after getting the better of the home side in penalty shootout.

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The scores were level at 1-1 at the end regulation time. Kolkata won triumphed 4-3 on penalties to win their second ISL title and silence the huge crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi.

First Published: Nov 16, 2017 22:42 IST