ISL 2017: Exciting matches to look forward to in January

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Here is a list of Indian Super League matches to look forward to in the first month of the New Year...

The Indian Super League (ISL) is underway and all the 10 teams have played at least six matches. Chennaiyin FC lead the points table with 13 points from seven games and they are followed by FC Goa and Bengaluru FC. 

Delhi Dynamos are placed at the bottom of the points table with just three points from six matches. The Delhi-based outfit started their campaign with a 3-2 win over FC Pune City but thereafter lost five consecutive games on the trot, a whole new record in ISL.

Reigning champions ATK too have had a rough ride so far in their title defence. They failed to register a single win in their first four games but have gained momentum after winning their last two matches.

We have witnessed good football, a few great goals and plenty of drama since the season opener in November. Let's take a look at the exciting matches to look forward to in the month of January. 

ATK vs FC Goa (January 3, Kolkata)

Atletico de Kolkata FC Goa ISL season 3 2016

ATK were supposed to host old foes FC Goa in Kolkata on New Year's eve, but the fixture was rescheduled and it will now be played on January 3. Goa and Kolkata are considered to be the hotbeds of Indian football which naturally generates a rivalry among the teams of the respective cities.

The rivalry became intense from the very first time these two sides came face-to-face. In an ill-tempered match in 2014, ATK’s Fikru and FC Goa’s Gregory Arnolin were involved in an ugly spat. The then ATK coach Antonio Habas was also involved in an altercation with FC Goa's marquee player Robert Pires.

Although ATK enjoys a very healthy record against the Goan side, this fixture always promises to be a cracker.

Bengaluru FC vs ATK (January 7th, Bengaluru)

Nicolas Fedor (Miku) NorthEast United FC Bengaluru FC ISL 4 2017/2018

Bengaluru FC started their maiden season in ISL on a positive note. The former I-League and Federation Cup champions completely dominated in the opening few weeks in the tournament and looked comfortable. They are still very much among the top teams in the tournament and are on course to finish in the top four.

The Blues welcome defending champions ATK at their fortress on January 7. The match promises to be an interesting contest given Bengaluru's past history with Kolkata clubs. During their stint in the I-League, the team from the Garden City enjoyed a fierce rivalry with Kolkata giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.

It will be interesting to see if ATK can weigh in in this rich rivalry between Bengaluru and Kolkata in Indian football.

FC Goa vs Jamshedpur FC (January 11, Goa)

Delhi Dynamos FC Goa

FC Goa host ISL newbies Jamshedpur FC on January 11 in Goa. This is going to be an exciting clash as the team with the best attack (FC Goa) take on the team with the most disciplined defence (Jamshedpur FC). While the Goan side has scored 18 goals so far in six matches, Jamshedpur FC have conceded just two goals in six games.

The battle between Manuel Lanzarote and Ferran Corrominas, the two pillars of Goa's attack, and Andre Bikey and Tiri, the key men in Jamshedpur's backline, will be something to cherish for the fans.

Chennaiyin FC vs FC Pune City (January 13, Chennai)

FC Pune City Chennaiyin FC ISL 2017 2018

Table topper Chennaiyin FC will be up against FC Pune City at the Marina Arena on January 13. Chennaiyin have been a very disciplined outfit so far with a balanced squad. 

FC Pune City, on the other hand, have been very inconsistent. They have struggled against weaker teams this season but somehow managed to perform well against the in-form sides. Pune boss Ranko Popovic is a master tactician and it will be interesting to see how he utilizes his arsenal against the table toppers in their own den.

Jamshedpur FC vs Kerala Blasters (January 17, Jamshedpur)

Kerala Blasters FC Jamshedpur FC ISL Season 4 2017/2018

Jamshedpur FC and Kerala Blasters managed a goalless draw in the first leg of the tournament at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi. Former Kerala manager Steve Coppell, who is in charge of the Men of Steel this season was welcomed with open arms by the yellow brigade. In the return leg, it will be interesting to see if he can guide his team to a win against his former employers.

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Kerala Blasters vs FC Goa (January 21, Kerala)

Jackichand Singh FC Goa Kerala Blasters FC ISL 4 2017/2018

Sergio Lobera's FC Goa humiliated Rene Meulensteen's Kerala Blasters 5-2 in the first leg at Goa. Ferran Corominas scored a hat-trick while his partner-in-crime Manuel Lanzarote netted a brace to down the two-time ISL finalists. Blasters have unfinished business as they would love to get back at Goa in Kochi in front of a vociferous crowd.

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