The sixth season of Asia’s largest football franchise tournament is less than three weeks away – but the countdown has already begun. The Indian Super League is back with its 2019-20 edition. On October 20th, two-time champs ATK will take on the Kerala Blasters in the first match of Hero ISL 2019-20 in Kochi. Till February 23rd, the 10 football teams will play 90 league stage matches, followed by the semifinals and final.
Here’s a handy quick guide to the sixth edition of the Hero ISL:
ATK and Chennaiyin are two-time winners of the ISL. Bengaluru FC, a team only two seasons old, is the defending champion after defeating FC Goa 1-0 in the final of ISL 2018-19. Chennaiyin, who won the ISL 2017-18 title, became the first defending champion to finish at the bottom of the table in its subsequent season – the struggling team won only 2 of its 18 games in a shocking campaign that left veteran coach John Gregory scratching his head. FC Goa and Kerala Blasters are two-times runners-up in the ISL. Goa is the most successful team in the ISL yet to win a title.
Delhi Dynamos – otherwise the most under-performing team in ISL history – will now be known as Odisha FC after shifting their base to the Kalinga Stadium this season. The coach will remain Josep Gombau. Pune City FC has folded up due to financial problems, and will be replaced by Hyderabad FC – to be coached by former English footballer Phil Brown. ISL will continue to operate with 10 teams despite the changes. FC Goa, Mumbai City, Bengaluru FC and Chennaiyin have retained their head coaches, while Kerala Blasters have signed on former NorthEast United coach Eelco Schattorie and NorthEast (who made the semis last season) have signed Robert Jani.
FC Goa has won the most ISL matches over 5 seasons – 38 out of 88. It has the maximum points with 134 points followed by Chennaiyin at 117 and ATK at 115. Despite playing only two seasons, Bengaluru FC is already on 84 points. Goa (38), Bengaluru (30), Jamshedpur FC (6) and Chennaiyin (4) are the only teams with a positive goal difference in the league. No team has conceded more than Chennaiyin’s 122 goals, while no team has scored even close to Goa’s 154. Pune City and NorthEast United hold the unwanted record of maximum losses with 34 each. Spanish striker Ferran Corominas holds the record for the maximum goals scored in ISL history so far with 34 to his name (in only two seasons). India’s Sunil Chhetri is second with 30 across 4 seasons.
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