After 110 matches in the Hero ISL 2021-22 league stage, we finally have a conclusion. Just like a proper Bollywood drama, this season the league stage also went right down to the wire and the underdogs prevailed. Men of Steel, Jamshedpur FC became the outright Hero ISL Shield winner and Hyderabad FC, ATK Mohun Bagan and Kerala Blasters FC are all through to the playoffs of the 2021-22 season.
So what were the major talking points from the Hero ISL 2021-22 league stage? Let’s find out here.
THE MEN OF STEEL MAKE HISTORY
Owen Coyle is a miracle man and we’ve already seen him work his magic in the league twice, once with Chennaiyin FC and now with Jamshedpur FC. The Red Miners made history in this season, as for the first time in the club’s history they qualified for the playoffs and did that in fashion by clinching the Shield on the very final matchday.
With the win on the final matchday, Jamshedpur FC broke Bengaluru FC’s record of six straight wins in the league. They accumulated 43 points in the league stage, the most ever by any club. They also went on to equal Bengaluru FC’s record of 13 wins in the league stage.
INDIAN PLAYERS WERE OUTSTANDING
More often than not, the overseas players are the ones who end up grabbing all the headlines but the 2021-22 season was a bit different. It all started with the enforcement of the extra Indian player on the pitch. Managers were forced to field an extra Indian player in the XI and that helped these young players to step up.
There were more Indian goalscorers this season than ever before. The Indian players were also deployed at key positions on the field, something the managers were warry off at the start of the season. This change will bode well for the national team going forward and made the league stage much more interesting for the Indian fan.
LIFE IN BIO-BUBBLES ARE TAXING
For a second straight season, the Hero ISL was being played in a secure bio-bubble environment and it took a toll on the mental health of many players. It was inevitable for Covid-19 to breach these bubbles and that’s what made the league come to a standstill for a couple of days. Some players just couldn’t cope with any more of the bubble life and there were plenty of reports emerging of these players just waiting for the end of the season.
If reports are to be believed then this was the last season to be played in secure bio-bubbles and the Hero ISL will revert to the concept of home and away games from next season onwards.
MEET THE SEMI-FINALISTS
After 110 highly competitive matches, the Hero ISL 2021-22 season finally have the four teams that have qualified for the playoffs. Jamshedpur FC, Hyderabad FC, ATK Mohun Bagan and Kerala Blasters FC were the top four teams of the league stage and deservedly will play a two-legged semi-final starting March 11.
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