The Hero ISL 2021-22 season, arguably the most exciting one, is underway. The games are going to be played every day of the week guaranteeing Indian football fans plenty of matches to watch their favourite players sweat it out in humid conditions in Goa.
The first phase was announced by the organising committee that included the fixtures for the first eleven rounds. There are certain matches that automatically catch the eye, be it rivalries or derbies. In this piece, we’re looking at five such games that have the potential to be absolute blockbusters.
MUMBAI CITY FC vs FC GOA (November 22, 2021)
This has to be the very recent rivalry that has developed in the Hero ISL. It all started with Mumbai City FC roping in former Goa coach Sergio Lobera along with some Goan superstars who won the double with the Islanders last season. Since then, Lobera has moved away from Indian football but the rivalry between the two clubs hasn’t subsided. This year as well, Mumbai have done some shopping in Goa by bringing in their striker from the previous season, Igor Angulo.
Both sides have plenty of quality in their ranks and are real title contenders this season as well. This would be the match where both teams would be hoping to stamp their authority on the season.
SC EAST BENGAL vs ATK MOHUN BAGAN (November 27, 2021)
This is the mother of all matches in Indian football as East Bengal will take on their city rivals ATK Mohun Bagan in the revered Kolkata derby. It is the biggest game in Asian football and even though it would be played in an empty stadium, fans would be glued to their television screens to witness this historic game. Last season the Mariners won the bragging rights on both occasions and would be hoping to continue their dominance this season as well.
HYDERABAD FC vs CHENNAIYIN FC (November 23, 2021)
The South Indian derby would feature two teams that played brilliant football last season but were unlucky not to make it to the playoffs. Manolo Marquez’s Hyderabad did the double over Chennaiyin FC in the previous season but the Marina Machans have plenty of changes this season and would be expecting to put out their A-game in this special encounter.
BENGALURU FC vs KERALA BLASTERS FC (November 28, 2021)
The derby between Southern neighbours, Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters FC over the years has been an extremely competitive one. Both teams are fiercely competitive when it comes to one another and this is usually one of the most anticipated games in the Hero ISL calendar. Last season, both teams won one game each in this fixture so it starts all square in the Hero ISL 2021-22 season.
ATK MOHUN BAGAN vs MUMBAI CITY FC (December 1, 2021)
The Mariners fell just short of both the accolades in the previous season and on both occasions it was Mumbai City FC who took away these prized possessions from ATK Mohun Bagan. Revenge would certainly be on the mind of Antonio Lopez Habas’ side and they can take the first step when they meet Mumbai on December 1.
It became public recently that both these clubs wanted to bring Apuia from NorthEast United but Mumbai City FC won that particular race and the Mariners in typical response roped in Mumbai’s most valuable asset in Hugo Boumous. Both these teams have the best squads in the league and this clash promises to provide moments that will be remembered for years to come.
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