The 5th season of Indian Super League will begin from Sep 29. With a host of changes rung in this time around, here’s all you need to know about ISL 2018-19.
This season, truly, by the sheer volume of matches and the period of time over which the teams will battle out for the prize, will be bigger than ever. The season 5 begins on the last weekend of September with two blockbuster matches. However, this season, the organizers have decided to scrap the doubleheader weekend this season. On September 29, ATK host Kerala Blasters at the iconic Salt Lake stadium. On Sunday i.e on September 30, Bengaluru FC, the last year’s runner-up will host last year’s winners Chennaiyin FC at Sree Kanteerva Stadium.
ATK have had a change of baton in their setup and under a certain Steve Coppell, they will be looking to make amends after a disastrous last season. What better way than to start at home. Kerala Blasters, had a tumultuous season last time around and were subject to a lot of disappointment by the lack of player-coach camaraderie.
Chennaiyin FC, arguably have the longest season in the super league. By virtue of being the champions last year, the southern team booked a spot in the preliminary rounds of AFC Cup. Any progress to the group stages will see them have a tough set of fixtures ahead. But the destiny of John Gregory’s men will take them for greater things and they will be up for the challenge. They have come through every major challenge unscathed and on top. When they took on FC Goa in Fatorda Stadium for the title, they emerged victoriously. In the season 4 finale, when they faced the almighty Bengaluru FC in their own backyard, they came on top. There are reasons why they call Chennaiyin the most successful team in the league.
Bengaluru FC, on the other hand, will only have the Indian super league this season. After Turkmenistan club Altyn Asyr FC knocked them out in the Interzonal semi-finals, they will look to go all the way in the league. They narrowly missed out on the title in their first season after making the jump from the super league. Moreover, they will also be without the services of Albert Roca who parted ways after the successful Super Cup campaign. Carles Cuadrat who assisted Albert Roca for the last 2 seasons will take over the reins.
The prolonged super league season will see fixtures being played out over a period of six months. As of today, the fixtures have been announced till December 16. The teams wil play out the fixtures through the week with all teams having the weekend slot equally over the first phase. Here’s over the fixtures pan out.
Indian Super League 2018/19 FIXTURES
|September 29||ATK vs Kerala Blasters||September 30||Bengaluru FC vs Chennaiyin|
|October 1||NorthEast United (NEUFC) vs FC Goa||October 2||Mumbai City FC vs Jamshedpur FC|
|October 3||Delhi Dynamos vs FC Pune City||October 4||ATK vs NEUFC|
|October 5||Kerala Blasters vs Mumbai City FC||October 6||Chennaiyin FC vs FC Goa|
|October 7||Bengaluru FC vs Jamshedpur FC||October 17||Delhi Dynamos vs ATK|
|October 18||Chennaiyin vs NEUFC||October 19||Mumbai City FC vs FC Pune City|
|October 20||Kerala Blasters vs Delhi Dynamos||October 21||Jamshedpur FC vs ATK|
|October 22||FC Pune City vs Bengaluru FC||October 23||Delhi Dynamos vs Chennaiyin FC|
|October 24||FC Goa vs Mumbai City FC||October 25||NEUFC vs Jamshedpur FC|
|October 26||ATK vs Chennaiyin FC||October 27||Mumbai City FC vs Delhi Dynamos|
|October 28||FC Goa vs FC Pune City||October 29||Jamshedpur FC vs Kerala Blasters|
|October 30||Delhi Dynamos vs NEUFC||October 31||Bengaluru FC vs ATK|
|November 1||Jamshedpur FC vs FC Goa||November 2||FC Pune City vs Kerala Blasters|
|November 3||Chennaiyin FC vs Mumbai City FC||November 4||Delhi Dynamos vs Jamshedpur FC|
|November 5||Kerala Blasters vs Bengaluru FC||November 6||FC Pune City vs Chennaiyin FC|
|November 8||FC Goa vs Delhi Dynamos||November 9||NEUFC vs Mumbai City FC|
|November 10||ATK vs FC Pune City||November 11||Kerala Blasters vs FC Goa|
|November 21||FC Pune City vs Jamshedpur FC||November 22||FC Goa vs Bengaluru FC|
|November 23||NEUFC vs Kerala Blasters||November 24||Mumbai City FC vs ATK|
|November 25||Jamshedpur FC vs Chennaiyin FC||November 26||Bengaluru FC vs Delhi Dynamos|
|November 27||FC Pune City vs NEUFC||November 28||ATK vs FC Goa|
|November 29||Chennaiyin FC vs Kerala Blasters||November 30||Bengaluru FC vs FC Pune City|
|December 1||Jamshedpur FC vs NEUFC||December 2||Chennaiyin FC vs ATK|
|December 3||Delhi Dynamos vs Mumbai City FC||December 4||Kerala Blasters vs Jamshedpur FC|
|December 5||NEUFC vs Bengaluru FC||December 6||Mumbai City FC vs Chennaiyin FC|
|December 7||Kerala Blasters vs FC Pune City||December 8||NEUFC vs ATK|
|December 9||Bengaluru FC vs Mumbai City FC||December 11||FC Pune City vs FC Goa|
|December 12||Jamshedpur FC vs Delhi Dynamos||December 13||ATK vs Bengaluru FC|
|December 14||FC Goa vs NEUFC||December 15||Chennaiyin FC vs Delhi Dynamos|
|December 16||Mumbai City FC vs Kerala Blasters|
Viewer Fatigue factor
From one perspective, every fixture will get television slot without having to clamor for space against cricket matches or other sport. On the other hand, the first timers for whom the #FanBannapadega call has been made will find it hard to last the distance. The organizers made a point when they got rid of the opening ceremony. They made a point that whatever works for cricket in this country need not necessarily work for football. Contrarily, this will be a huge boost for every match of an Indian football season to be telecasted on live TV. Nearly 82 years after the 1936 Berlin Olympics was telecasted live for the first time, we have indeed come a long way. One step for the mankind, a giant leap for Indian football (albeit 82 years later).
International Break and AFC Asian Cup
The period from October 8 to October 16 will be the first international break in the history of Indian football. This will see the national team travel to China for a friendly. Moreover, the two teams will be playing against each other after a gap of 21 years. This will also be the first time India will play away to China. Almost every focus this season will be on the prestigious AFC Asian Cup. Stephen Constantine hasn’t changed his style of football or the players he has been selecting for what seems like an eternity. But it feels there’s an Indian waiting on the fringes who can play attacking football but accustom to his way of long ball football in an instant, this is the right time. Come January 5, India will embark on their Asian dream. The AFC Asian Cup will be in UAE till February 1.
C’mon India, Let’s Football.