ISL: The HIGH POINTS

The Indian Super League Season 3 witnessed quite a few outstanding goals scored by some very talented players. And there were some significant moments too that made the tournament a memorable one. Here’s Sportstar’s pick.

Jeje LalPekhlua

Jeje Lalpekhlua celebrates after scoring a goal.   -  PTI

GOALS OF THE TOURNAMENT



Jeje Lalpekhlua (Chennaiyin FC) v FC Pune City

The Mizoram-born striker reminded everyone in India why he is regarded as one of the best in the country, when he lobbed a shot over Pune’s goalkeeper Edel Bete to give Chennaiyin FC the lead. Apart from his finishing skills, it is his awareness of what is happening around the opposition penalty box that allowed him to chase the clearance from his defender and score.

Leo Costa (Mumbai City FC) v Chennaiyin FC

There is a saying in football: ‘It isn’t over, until it’s over’. Chennaiyin FC found out how cruel the game of football can be when Brazilian Leo Costa equalised with an outstanding long-range effort from 25 yards out for Mumbai City FC in the 88th minute. Goalkeeper Duwayne Kerr could only stand and watch, as the ball crashed in off the bar.

Kervens Belfort (Kerala Blasters) v Delhi Dynamos

The Haitian forward produced a piece of magic when he swayed past three Delhi defenders to slot the ball in, past goalkeeper Toni Doblas, and give Kerala the lead in the semifinal first leg. The goal ultimately proved the difference in a cagey double-header semifinal, which Kerala won on penalties.

Sameehg Doutie (Atletico de Kolkata) v FC Goa

Volleying is one of the most difficult skills in football, but South African Sameehg Doutie would make you think otherwise. He latched on to a poor clearance from the Goan defence to thump in a right-footed volley past the goalkeeper.

Davide Succi (Chennaiyin FC) v NorthEast United

Succi’s exquisite volley off a pass from Siam Hangal served as a reminder why the Italian was brought into the team (in place of Stiven Mendoza). Though the Italian never really lived up to his billing, Succi’s fine finish was testimony to his predatory skills inside the box.



DEFINING MOMENTS



Vineeth’s return and Blasters’ rebirth

C. K. Vineeth made a grand entry into Hero Indian Super League Season 3 by scoring a brace in Kerala Blasters’ comeback win against archrival Chennaiyin FC. The Blasters turned its home into a fortress following the victory by winning its subsequent five matches at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi — a run that helped the team climb to second spot in the final League standings.

The Forlan anti-climax

Much was expected of the Uruguayan striker, Diego Forlan, but not a red card. The former Manchester United player was the key figure in Mumbai City FC’s run to the semifinals, but lost the plot against Atletico de Kolkata in the first leg. A double yellow card, the second for a blatant kick, earned Forlan the red card. Atletico, eventually, went on to win the tournament.

Shouvik Ghosh shatters Chennai’s hopes

Chennaiyin FC thought it had secured an important win when Dudu Omagbemi completed a hat-trick in the dying minutes of regulation time against NorthEast United. But fate had other plans, as The Highlanders’ Shouvik Ghosh out-jumped the others to head in from the corner for the equaliser in injury-time and end Chennaiyin’s reign as defending champion.

Nandy’s saves

The 41-year-old former Indian national team goalkeeper was the star for Kerala Blasters as it won the penalty shootout against Delhi Dynamos. Nandy saved Memo’s penalty, after both Florent Malouda and Bruno Pelissari had skied their shots, while Kerala Blasters scored three.

Marcelinho’s dream debut

The start could not have been better for Brazilian Marcelinho: a brace on debut in the Indian Super League against the defending champion, Chennaiyin FC. The forward bamboozled the Chennaiyin defenders throughout the match, and he made the difference for Zambrotta’s side throughout the season.

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