ISL 2021-22: Habas departs; Chhetri continues goalless run

From Antonio Habas’ exit to Greg Stewart’s hattrick, here are the top 10 talking points in the Indian Super League from the past fortnight.

Exasperated: Antonio Lopez Habas became the first casualty of the ISL 2021-2022 season as he stepped down as ATK Mohun Bagan’s head coach after a four-match winless run.   -  ISL

From Antonio Habas’ exit to Greg Stewart’s hattrick, here are the top 10 talking points in the Indian Super League from the past fortnight.

ATK Mohun Bagan parts ways with Antonio Habas

Antonio Lopez Habas, the most successful manager in the league, decided to leave ATK Mohun Bagan after a four-match winless run. He had led the club to two ISL titles and also to the inter-zonal semifinals of the AFC Cup. Manuel Cascallana, the assistant manager, took over as interim manager for the side.

READ: ATK Mohun Bagan appoints Juan Ferrando as Head Coach

 

FC Goa’s Ortiz and ATK Mohun Bagan’s Luis Martinez charged with violent conduct

FC Goa forward Jorge Ortiz and ATKMB’s physiotherapist Luis Alfonso Redondo Martinez have been charged with violent conduct by the disciplinary committee of the All India football Federation (AIFF).

Ortiz has been charged with ‘violent conduct’ for ‘pushing Bengaluru FC’s Suresh Wangjum when the ball was not in play’, while Martinez was accused of ‘violent conduct — pushing using excessive force.’

Sunil Chhetri missing his shooting boots

The second highest goal-scorer in the history of Indian Super League with 47 goals, Sunil Chhetri, has had a disappointing campaign so far, missing two penalties and having zero assists or goals in seven games.

This is his third such drought, with the first one with Mumbai City FC in 2015 and the other with Bengaluru FC in 2018-19. If he fails to register a goal or assist in his next game, it will be a new personal record.

’Trickster: Greg Alexander James Stewart of Jamshedpur FC scores a goal against Odisha FC at Tilak stadium in Goa, India. Stewart scored a hat-trick to help Jamshedpur FC register a 4-0 win.   -  ISL

 

Greg Stewart in song for Jamshedpur FC

Jamshedpur FC has shown some real mettle in the final third, beating ATK Mohun Bagan and high-flying Odisha FC with convincing 4-0 margins. The star of the show has been Greg Stewart, who has joined the side after his stint at Rangers and scored a hattrick against Odisha FC.

The Scotsman has four goals and as many assists in just six games this season.

Injury-stricken NorthEast United returns to winning ways

Khalid Jamil’s side had suffered a major injury blow after Federico Gallego, its assist-leader last season, was ruled out for the season. The next blow was its defensive lynchpin Hernan Santana, who was ruled out with an injury minutes before the SC East Bengal match.

In spite of that, NorthEast United secured a 2-0 win over SC East Bengal to climb up the table, keeping its hopes for a play-off position alive.

FC Goa finds its rhythm

Juan Ferrando’s boys won their first match in the 2021-22 Indian Super League after three successive defeats, in a 4-3 win over SC East Bengal. The Durand Cup winners have not lost since and have not just left the bottom spot for good, but have also climbed up to seventh with a draw against Hyderabad FC, keeping their unbeaten record against HFC intact.

READ: Ivan Vukomanovic: ‘India should focus on youth development’

Bengaluru FC’s form goes from bad to worse

Bengaluru FC failed to register a single win this fortnight with just one point out of a possible 12. Bengaluru FC’s 3-3 draw against ATK Mohun Bagan was the last match for ATKMB’s coach.

The 2018-19 league winner will have to pull up its socks, with the side sitting second from bottom, with its captain Sunil Chhetri out of form.

Mumbai City FC continues firing on all cylinders

Mumbai City FC remained unbeaten this fortnight, including a win against Jamshedpur FC, thus maintaining a four-point cushion on top of the table.

Des Buckingham’s side found another goalscoring centre-back in Rahul Bheke, who pipped MCFC in a tight match against a well-disciplined Chennaiyin defence that had prevented Mumbai from scoring till the last minute of the match.

On song: Bartholomew Ogbeche of Hyderabad FC celebrates after scoring a goal against Bengaluru FC at the Bambolim Stadium in Goa.   -  PTI

 

Ogbeche returns to the party

Bartholomew Ogbeche. the former Paris Saint-Germain forward, joined the goalscoring list right from the second game for HFC and went on to score five in four consecutive games.

He scored twice as Hyderabad FC demolished NorthEast United 5-1 to become the tournament’s highest goalscorer this fortnight.

SC East Bengal makes the bottom of the table its home

The only side without a single win in the league this season, SC East Bengal’s condition debilitated with an injury to Franjo Prce and a red card for Antonio Perosevic in its last game, gifting a 2-0 win to Northeast United.

The team has lost the Kolkata derby and has looked so out of shape that its spokesperson, Rennedy Singh, went on record to say that the team didn’t deserve to win against NEUFC.