Last updated: 12th Nov,2020 1:22PM
Live sports action will resume in India after a lengthy hiatus as the 2020-21 season of Indian Super League (ISL) kicks off from November 20. The premier football division of the country will see Goa host all the matches with no in-stadia attendance.
All the teams are already stationed in Goa at various hotels, having completed the necessary quarantine protocols.
ATK Mohun Bagan,
S.C. East Bengal,
Mumbai City FC,
and NorthEast United FC will be the eleven teams participating in this edition of the competition.
Where can I watch the ISL matches?
Fans can watch the ISL matches live on Star Sports network and online streaming platform Hotstar.
GMC Stadium Bambolim, Tilak Maidan and Fatorda Stadium are the three stadiums that will play host to the matches. Most of the matches will kick off at 7:30 pm with six double-headers, all on Sunday, where the first match of the day will begin at 5:00 pm.
The organizers have released the first set of fixtures till January 11. Thereafter, the league will go on a break as three teams from the competition – FC Goa, ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC – will honor their AFC club competition commitments.
FC Goa will become the first Indian club to participate in the AFC Champions League after topping the group stages of ISL last season. ATK Mohun Bagan will participate in AFC Cup, whereas Bengaluru FC will play at the AFC Cup Qualifiers.
The next set of fixtures will resume once AFC declares the schedule of the aforementioned competitions.
What is different in this season of ISL?
Apart from a single state hosting the entire competition and the absence of fans cheering for their teams, this season will have 11 teams participating in contrast to the usual 10.
Having roped in Shree Cements as their investor, SC East Bengal will be the new team making their debut. Their arch-rivals and last season’s I-League winner Mohun Bagan have sold 80% of their stakes to the RPSG group, which already had another team named ATK. Keeping the logo and colors of Green and Maroon intact, they will be making their debut in ISL as ATK Mohun Bagan.
The teams will square off against each other in a two-legged format, with the top four teams going on to play the semi-finals and final. This season will also witness 115 matches, 20 matches more than the previous season.
ISL has also made it mandatory for each team to have at least one AFC-affiliated foreign player in the squad.
Other rule changes for this season of ISL include having two Indian developmental players (born on or after January 1, 2000) in the matchday squad and clubs being allowed to make five substitutions per match on three intervals.
Who are the key players to watch out for?
The last season of ISL saw three players score 15 goals. The Golden Boot winner Nerijus Valskis will turn up for Jamshedpur FC this season whereas, Roy Krishna and Bartholomew Ogbeche will don the jerseys of ATK Mohun Bagan and Mumbai City FC, respectively.
India’s captain Sunil Chhetri will continue his association with Bengaluru FC as well as other national team regular players like Udanta Singh and goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. Indian national team defender Sandesh Jhingan will play for ATK Mohun Bagan, whereas midfielder Anirudh Thapa will represent Chennaiyin FC.