With the sixth edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) only a week old, the first full-fledged month of domestic football action will be November. Already, there have been a few delicious results in the run-up to November – with ATK roaring back to form with a 5-0 demolishment of Hyderabad – that will set the pulses racing. There will be a two-week international break between November 10th and 23rd. 

Here are five exciting ISL matches you should not miss in November:

November 7: Mumbai City vs FC Goa

You might call this the Western derby, but this rivalry has gained more significance in the last few seasons with both teams consistently clamoring for playoff spots. Goa finished second in the league last season, with Mumbai at third. With Portuguese coach Jorge Costa, Mumbai has found its mojo – evident from an opening away victory against the high-flying Kerala Blasters. But it’s Segio Lobero’s Goa men that elicit gasps every time they walk on to the football field. A 3-0 opening win against Chennaiyin had those usual suspects Coro and Carlos Pena scoring one a piece. This will be a good early test for Goa, who are definitely title contenders this season, especially after they face fellow favorites Bengaluru FC at the end of October.

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November 10: Bengaluru FC vs Chennaiyin FC

The South Indian derby used to be of great significance as late as the 2017-18 season, in which these two storied teams faced off in the final. They now have 3 ISL titles between them – but Chennaiyin finished rock-bottom last season, and look equally deflated this time around with a 3-0 loss to Goa in their first match a sign of a bleak follow-up. Bengaluru meanwhile has been the best team in ISL in the last two seasons bar none. This could well be the boost that Chennaiyin need, though, if they take the fight to Chhetri’s men in their own backyard. There’s nothing like a turnaround and a fightback of former champions in sport. Hopefully, Chennaiyin use this as an opportunity to make a statement.

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November 9: ATK vs Jamshedpur

ATK just scored 5 goals in a single game, raising visions of the dominant two-time champions that they once were. Given that they represent the most football-mad city in the country, ATK, coached by Antonio Habas, have a responsibility towards their fans, despite losing the opening-day game against Kerala Blasters. The team looks better this season, and will be high on confidence, and they will face the one team whose defense is difficult to break down. Jamshedpur again are the dark horses of ISL – their opening win against Odisha FC (formerly Delhi Dynamos) will have calmed a few nerves, but the team now needs to aim for the playoffs after falling short last season. They have a good head-to-head record against ATK.

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November 27: NorthEast United vs Mumbai City

No matter where these two teams stand in the ISL table a month from now, this remains an exciting match-up between two modern playoff contenders. NorthEast United have reinvented themselves in the last year or so, making the semis, and will be relying on their new star Asamoah Gyan to fire and challenge Coro for the Golden Boot at the top of the table. Much of their fortunes depend on the Ghana star, and Mumbai City – with the best goalkeeper in the league Amrinder Singh – will be wary of the underdogs. The West vs East battle may give one of these teams a crucial push for the playoffs. One thing is for certain: A goalless draw is a thing of the past.

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November 30: ATK vs Mumbai City

Another East v/s West battle for the ages. While Bengaluru and Goa might be fighting for top spot this season, ATK and Mumbai City will be their closest contenders. Given ATK’s desperation to turn around their flagging fortunes, they might be the mercurial team that nobody wants to face. Mumbai is more consistent, but that could very well change in November – the opponents are relentless, and their stamina will be put to test. The last match of November might be its most exciting, and have a lasting effect on the ISL points table too.

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