ISL 2020-21: From Kerala Blasters' Sahal Abdul Samad to ATK Mohun Bagan's Manvir Singh, Indians who impressed in league stage
As the curtains are drawn on the league phase of the 2020-21 ISL season, the time is perhaps ripe to delve deeper into the standout Indian performers from each team and the impact they had on their respective sides’ journeys.
It has been a strange season in many ways, not least because of the COVID bio-bubble the players, staff, and officials were forced into. Here are some of the talking points that shaped the season.
Odisha beat SC East Bengal 6-5 as the game broke the all-time ISL record for the most goals in a match.
While Odisha lie at the very bottom of the table, East Bengal haven't fared much better and are ninth.
ISL 2020-21: Bipin Singh scores hat-trick as Mumbai City thrash Odisha FC to keep hopes of first-place finish alive
After Odisha had taken a shock early lead through Diego Mauricio (9th minute), Mumbai hit back hard through goals from Bartholomew Ogbeche (14th, 43rd), Bipin Singh (38th, 47th, 86th) and Cy Goddard (44th).
ISL 2020-21: Sergio Lobera's Mumbai City FC face Odisha in must-win game to stay in contention for top spot
A win for Mumbai City will take them to 37 points and they can top the league stage table and win the League Winners Shield if they beat ATKMB in their final match on 28 February.
Goals from Alberto Noguera and Jorge Ortiz gave Goa an early lead to the Gaurs before Diego Mauricio pulled one back for Odisha.
When the ISL season was halfway through, few would have looked past FC Goa while predicting the possible semi-finalists. However, six draws later, they are just about hanging on.
ISL 2020-21: Roy Krishna helps ATK Mohun Bagan reclaim top spot; Luis Machado scores brace as NorthEast United continue unbeaten run
Goals from Luis Machado (9th and 24th) and Deshorn Brown (19th) helped the Highlanders move to third spot and strengthen their chances of qualifying for the play-offs
For Odisha FC, the remainder of the ISL season will be about restoring some pride.
ISL 2020-21: Diego Mauricio's brace gifts Odisha FC hard-fought point after 2-2 draw against Kerala Blasters
Kerala desperately needed a win to revive their playoff hopes but couldn't find a way past Odisha, a side they are yet to beat.
ISL 2020-21: With playoffs hopes finished, Odisha FC aim to return to winning ways against Kerala Blasters
The bottom-placed side has been on a six-match winless run now, having won only one game all season, which came against Kerala Blasters.
The result meant the Mariners closed the gap with Mumbai to three points, while Odisha's top-four chances are all but over.
ISL 2020-21: Hit by controversy, bottom-placed Odisha FC aim to get campaign back on track against ATK Mohun Bagan
Odisha FC recently lost their coach Stuart Baxter who was booted out for making comment on rape to criticise a refereeing decision.
The club also announced that an interim coach will be appointed soon for rest of the season.
ISL 2020-21: Odisha FC ‘unreservedly apologises’ for coach Stuart Baxter’s ‘rape’ comments after loss to Jamshedpur FC
Speaking in the aftermath of a 1-0 loss, Baxter said, 'you need decisions to go your way and we needed a penalty. I think one of my players would have to rape someone or get raped himself if he was going to get a penalty."
Mobashir scored a 41st-minute goal which proved to be the difference between the two sides, ending JFC's five-game winless streak and keeping their playoff hopes alive.
ISL 2020-21: Owen Coyle's Jamshedpur FC aim to sort out goalscoring woes against bottom-placed Odisha FC
Jamshedpur FC have failed to score in three out of their last four games.
Paartalu struck in the 82nd minute after Diego Mauricio had put Odisha in front in the eighth minute.
BFC have not won in their last six games of which they have lost five. After the exit of Carles Cuadrat, interim coach Naushad Moosa has not been able to turn things around.