ISL 2020-21 Weekly Roundup: 7 and no W for BFC, Do not upset Fowler

ISL 2020-21: From Bengaluru's winless run to the latest in transfers and KP Rahul's impressive week, here are the major talking points from the week in the Indian Super League.

Published : Jan 25, 2021 09:29 IST

Bengaluru FC skipper Sunil Chhetri reacts after his side's 1-1 draw against Odisha FC.
Bengaluru FC skipper Sunil Chhetri reacts after his side's 1-1 draw against Odisha FC.

Bengaluru FC skipper Sunil Chhetri reacts after his side's 1-1 draw against Odisha FC.

Bengaluru and wins - just not happening

Bengaluru FC's disappointing Indian Super League season (ISL 2020-21) continues as the former champion lost to Kerala Blasters and drew with Odisha FC last week. The results see Bengaluru remain winless in seven matches - the club's worst run since it joined the ISL.

The side has been further pegged pack by Dimas Delgado's departure, who has returned to Spain owing to personal reasons.

The club is eying the influx of some new names as it continues to struggle to find the back of the net -- scoring only four goals in seven games. Norwegian striker Kristian Opseth has endured a miserable campaign and is yet to score in 13 games. However, Xisco Hernandez's arrival could provide some fillip to Bengaluru's dismal campaign.

Club owner Parth Jindal took to Twitter on Sunday to suggest that the side will rope in a couple of players soon and also acknowledged the lack of a third striker.

Do not upset Fowler

Pundits and reporters will need to walk a tight rope when they are putting forward their questions to SC East Bengal head coach Robbie Fowler. Official broadcaster's analyst and former East Bengal coach Eelco Schattorie found it out the hard way late last year.

It was then the turn of Pradhyum Reddy last week when he posed to the Englishman if he was embarrassed about East Bengal bench's behaviour in the goalless draw against Chennaiyin FC.

READ | 'It's bordering on the cheating for us' - SCEB coach Robbie Fowler on refereeing

In the pre-match press conference ahead of the Chennaiyin game, a journalist's question read, "Is defence still a concern and is that something you are worried about?"

Fowler scoffed before replying, "Yea, a massive concern. These questions... I don't get the point behind them. Our defence has been good but sometimes has been lackadaisical early on.

"People were asking questions on the forward and all of a sudden we score goals and now it's the defence. We are a big club and people want to ask silly questions then it's my job to give them silly answers. If it's a valid question going on to every manager in the ISL then I do apologise. I am not sure it is though."

Adil joins FC Goa, Jackichand reunited with Lobera

Adil Khan has been loaned to FC Goa for the remainder of the season and is expected to be called into action right away as both of the club's centre-backs will miss the next game. FC Goa's 1-1 draw with Kerala Blasters saw Ivan Gonzalez receive a red card and fellow centre-back James Donachie suffer a hamstring injury.

The 32-year-old was injured initially and struggled for game-time at Hyderabad as he managed only 34 minutes across five appearances.

Mumbai City FC has further bolstered its midfield by bringing Jackichand Singh on board in an exchange deal that saw Farukh Choudhary move to Jamshedpur FC. Jackichand has flourished under Sergio Lobera, scoring scoring nine goals and crafting seven assists during his two seasons at FC Goa. He has three assists to his name this season.

Jackichand Singh has joined Mumbai City FC to be reunited with Serio Lobera.

Jamshedpur also acquired the services of Seiminlen Doungel, who has been loaned until the end of the season by FC Goa.

Mumbai City's march continues

After losing its opening game of the tournament 0-1 to NorthEast United FC, Mumbai City FC has been unstoppable in the 2020-21 ISL. This week, the Islanders equalled the longest unbeaten streak in the league's short history -- 11 matches -- also held by the Bengaluru FC side of the 2018-19 season.

Table-topper Mumbai City FC, which has 29 points in 12 games, hasn't scored in only two matches this season, while keeping eight clean sheets so far in the 2020-21 ISL.

With the most recent win over SC East Bengal, Sergio Lobera's men went on to regain their five-point lead over second-placed ATK Mohun Bagan at the top of the ISL standings.

MCFC, which has both the best attack (18 goals scored) and best defence (four goals conceded) in the ongoing edition, is now in pole position to claim the League Winners' Shield and a 2022 AFC Champions League spot, with eight games to go.

Angulo's absence a setback for Goa

FC Goa, which occupies the third spot in the points table with 20 points from 13 outings, has been held to 1-1 draws in its last two ISL 2020-21 games against ATK Mohun Bagan and Kerala Blasters FC.

FC Goa striker Igor Angulo, who was the 'Player of the Month' in December and is the current leader of the tournament's Golden Boot standings, has played a cumulative 57 minutes in his club's last three outings.

The team has been wasting heaps of opportunities up front in the absence of Igor Angulo, who is the leading goal scorer of the tournament with nine goals from 12 appearances.

Goa hasn't lost a single game in which Angulo has scored this season. But the Spanish striker hasn't started his side's last three matches due to illness. However, in a boost to the fans of the Gaurs, FCG manager Juan Ferrando said after the KBFC encounter that his star forward could reach full fitness the coming week.

KP Rahul makes a big splash

KP Rahul might be the home-grown talent that Kerala Blasters and its fans can rally around. In what is his breakout campaign as a regular starter, Rahul provided two key moments in front of goal last week to steady Blasters' season.

The winger struck a late winner to help his side complete a comeback win against Bengaluru FC before a headed goal rescued a point against FC Goa. He now has three goals in 11 matches and is among Blasters' key goal-scoring threat.

Kerala Blasters' KP Rahul struck twice which earned his side four points last week. - ISL/Sportzpics

Last season the 20-year-old played 383 minutes in eight appearances, while he has already racked up 672 minutes this term.

Rahul has contributed in helping his team at the back with his tireless running and tenacity in pressing the opponents off the ball. He has effected 50 tackles -- most for a forward this season -- 12 interceptions and nine blocks. 

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