5 coaches who won the ISL trophy in their debut season

5 coaches who won the ISL trophy in their debut season
5 coaches who won the ISL trophy in their debut season

The Indian Super League (ISL) has been instrumental in catalyzing the growth of Indian football. Over the years, it has witnessed the emergence of numerous clubs, each contributing to the sport's elevation in the country. With the ISL at the forefront, Indian football has flourished, garnering attention both domestically and internationally.

In a climactic finale to the 10th season of the ISL, Mumbai City FC emerged victorious in the ISL 2023-24 cup final. They secured the championship title with a thrilling 3-1 win over Mohun Bagan Super Giants.

In this article, we delve into the remarkable feat achieved by certain coaches who secured the ISL trophy in their debut season.


#1 Antonio Lopez Habas - ATK (ISL 2014)

The inaugural season of the Indian Super League saw ATK (Atletico de Kolkata) becoming the champions. It was Antonio Lopez Habas's first season in the Indian circuit, and he clinched the ISL Trophy with ATK.

Playing 14 matches under Habas, ATK won four matches, drew seven, and lost only three. They moved to the playoffs and met FC Goa in the semi-finals. Both games were drawn, leading to penalties, which ATK ultimately won.

In the final, they faced Kerala Blasters FC. The scoreline remained nil-nil until the final whistle of the 90 minutes. In the stoppage time, Mohammed Rafique scored the goal that sealed the victory. This victory ensured Habas winning the ISL Cup in his debut season.


#2 Jose Molina - ATK (ISL 2016)

In the ISL 2016 season, ATK claimed their second ISL trophy with Jose Molina at the helm, marking his debut as a coach in the Indian football scene. Under his guidance, the Kolkata franchise played 14 matches, drew eight, and lost two. They advanced to the playoffs, where they won against Mumbai City FC in the semi-finals.

In the final, they faced the same opponents' Kerala Blasters. The game was closely contested, with the score tied at 1-1 at the end of regular time. The deadlock persisted through extra time, leading to a penalty shootout, where ATK emerged as champions.


#3 John Gregory - Chennaiyin FC (ISL 2017-18)

During the 2017-18 ISL season, Chennaiyin FC emerged as a dominant force under the leadership of John Gregory. Chennai made significant signings under Gregory's guidance, strengthening their squad.

Throughout the season, the team played 18 matches, securing victory in nine, drawing five, and suffering only four losses. With 32 points, they finished second in the league table.

In the semi-finals, Chennaiyin faced FC Goa and emerged victorious, securing their spot in the final. Despite being considered underdogs against Bengaluru FC in the final, Chennaiyin FC delivered an impressive performance. In a thrilling final match, the Marina Machans clinched a 3-2 victory over the Blues, with Mailson Alves scoring a brace, and the winning goal by Rafael Agusto.


#4 Carles Cuadrat - Bengaluru FC (ISL 2018-19)

In the 2018-19 ISL season, Bengaluru FC made a strategic move by promoting their assistant coach, Carles Cuadrat, to the head coach role. Under his guidance, they secured 11 wins, drew four, and suffered as many defeats, which propelled them to the top of the league table.

In the semi-finals, Bengaluru FC faced Northeast United FC, emerging victorious with a 4-2 aggregate scoreline. Advancing to the final, they squared off against FC Goa in a highly anticipated match. The encounter remained fiercely contested until the end of regular time and the subsequent 30-minute extra period.

Rahul Bheke scored the decisive goal in the 117th minute, securing victory for the Blues. This historic moment stunned fans and marked Bengaluru FC's first-ever ISL cup under Carlos Cuadrat.


#5 Petr Kratky - Mumbai City FC (ISL 2023-24)

Petr Kratky made it into the Indian football scene in the middle of the ISL 2023-24 season. On December 9, 2023, Kratky was appointed as the new head coach of Mumbai City after the previous manager, Des Buckingham, parted ways with the club to join EFL League One side Oxford United.

Under Kratky's leadership, Mumbai City played 18 matches, winning 12, drawing three, and losing as many.

Although they suffered a setback in the ISL Shield match against Mohun Bagan SG, Mumbai City remained determined to make a comeback in the ISL Cup. In the playoffs semi-final, they secured a convincing victory against FC Goa with an aggregate score of 5-2.

Advancing to the ISL Cup final, the Islanders faced Mohun Bagan SG in a highly anticipated match. They ultimately emerged victorious with a 3-1 scoreline, with Jorge Diaz, Bipin Singh, and Vojtus emerging as the goal scorers, securing the coveted title for Mumbai City.

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Edited by Ankush Das
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