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Drama, Surprises, Power: Intermission Notes on Enthralling ISL 2023–24 Season

<p>The Indian Super League (ISL) 2023–24 marked the start of the New Year by playing its midway match on Friday in Guwahati between FC Goa and NorthEast United FC. International events are now over, and Team India will take part in the AFC Asian Cup in Qatar starting on January 12.</p>
<p><img decoding=”async” class=”alignnone wp-image-333541″ src=”https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/theindiaprint.com-drama-surprises-power-intermission-notes-on-enthralling-isl-202324-season-download.jpg” alt=”theindiaprint.com drama surprises power intermission notes on enthralling isl 202324 season download” width=”1077″ height=”605″ title=”Drama, Surprises, Power: Intermission Notes on Enthralling ISL 2023–24 Season 3″ srcset=”https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/theindiaprint.com-drama-surprises-power-intermission-notes-on-enthralling-isl-202324-season-download.jpg 299w, https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/theindiaprint.com-drama-surprises-power-intermission-notes-on-enthralling-isl-202324-season-download-150×84.jpg 150w” sizes=”(max-width: 1077px) 100vw, 1077px” /></p>
<p>The ISL’s historic tenth season has lived up to expectations in terms of intrigue and engagement, with the return of three past league champion managers and the participation of Punjab FC, the competition’s first-ever promoted team. Here are some of the key lessons learned from the league so far, with Kerala Blasters FC topping the standings at the halfway point.</p>
<p><strong>A RISING LEVEL OF COMPETITIVENESS AMONG TEAMS</strong><br />
The ISL has seen a reduction in the gap between teams due to increased competition among clubs, which has been facilitated by the addition of younger players, experienced coaches, and better squads. Scorelines are now closer than ever because of this; in the first 69 games of this season, 169 goals have been scored, compared to 213 goals after the same amount of games in 2022–2023. Because of the narrower margins of victory, there have been more captivating competitions that often keep spectators on the edge of their seats. The ISL is entering an era when each club is breathing down the neck of its closest rival, with an average of 2.44 goals scored each game, meaning that the days of lopsided victory are long gone.</p>
<p><strong>STRENGTHENED DEFENCES ARE ESSENTIAL TO THE WIN</strong><br />
This season has seen a rise in tactical awareness as clubs have come to understand the need to have a strong defense. The most notable example is FC Goa, who after the additions of Odei Onaindia and Sandesh Jhingan have immediately shot up to the second slot. In the ISL 2023–24 season, there have been 39 clean sheets in total throughout 69 games, which is 18.18% more than there were (33) after the same number of games in the previous campaign. After ten games, the Gaurs have six clean sheets to their credit, while Odisha FC has maintained the same amount in twelve games. With 22 goals scored so far, the Juggernauts are also the top goal scorers, and Sergio Lobera’s influence can be seen in every aspect of their games.</p>
<p><strong>INDIAN STARS BREAKOUTS ADD ENTHUSIASM TO THE LEAGUE</strong><br />
The ISL’s genuine goals and intentions have always been on the development of Indian talent. From Parthib Gogoi’s spectacular outside-the-box goals in his first three games of the season to Sachin Suresh’s historic feat of saving penalties in back-to-back games, the top division has once again paved the way for a plethora of bright young players to establish themselves in the game. Local talent is flourishing in the final third, as seen by Sahal Abdul Samad (4), Liston Colaco (3), Nandhakumar Sekar (3), and Manvir Singh (2), who are among the league’s top assist producers right now. Lallianzuala Chhangte, a winger for Mumbai City FC, won the ISL Golden Ball in 2022–2023 and became only the second Indian to do so, after Sunil Chhetri (2017–18). It’s fair to argue that, given the present campaign, there is a very open competition for another national star to accomplish the same accomplishment.</p>
<p>Teams are enhancing their approach as the season advances.<br />
Although some teams started the season by taking a somewhat cautious approach, it can be argued that as the tournament has gone on, they have progressively started to open up and play to their full ability. This was changed in the seventh match week when Bengaluru FC-Punjab FC and Kerala Blasters FC-Chennaiyin FC drew 3-3 each before East Bengal FC defeated NorthEast United FC 5-0 to record their largest ISL victory ever. When Jamshedpur FC defeated Hyderabad FC, they achieved a similar result. Earlier in the month, Mumbai City FC defeated Bengaluru FC 4-0 to win. In actuality, Odisha FC defeated Jamshedpur FC 4-1 to round up the first half of the season. Overall, fans should be prepared for a treat when teams progressively find their stride and start playing to the best extent of their abilities, even when the increased level of competition is reflected in closer outcomes.</p>
<p><strong>THE COACHES’ SHUFFLES AND SURETY</strong><br />
This season has seen a variety of head coach changes, resignations, and performance maintenance. Jamshedpur FC confirmed the resignation of tactician Scott Cooper, while Mumbai City FC and Bengaluru FC declared their separation earlier this season. However, Manolo Marquez, Sergio Lobera, Ivan Vukomanovic, and Carles Cuadrat—the mainstays—were the ones grabbing the attention. Following their transfers to FC Goa and Odisha FC, respectively, Manolo Marquez and Sergio Lobera rose to the occasion, taking their sides to second and third place in the standings at the halfway point. Kerala Blasters FC, with head coach Ivan Vukomanovic continuing to work his magic for a third season in a row in an attempt to win championships for the Kochi-based team, leads the rankings. With East Bengal FC, Carles Cuadrat has changed the game in Kolkata, and the Red & Gold Brigade has a strong opportunity to make the playoffs for the first time since joining the ISL in 2020.</p>

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