One Indian player also features in this list.
There is a saying in football that one magnificent performance isn’t enough to define a team’s season. That is indeed true for the Indian Super League (ISL). Every single team to have won an ISL title in history maintained impressive consistency in their campaigns and produced multiple memorable performances.
While some one-off incredible team performances might fade away, individual performances normally don’t. When an individual player is himself responsible for almost single-handedly winning a major game for his side, his heroics is remembered for a long time.
A recent mesmerising performance from a foreigner, in which he had five goal involvements, will not be forgotten in ISL history. So while keeping that amazing performance in mind, let’s look at the five greatest individual performances in ISL history.
5. Kiyan Nassiri vs East Bengal (2021-22)
Kiyan Nassiri celebrates after demolishing SC East Bengal last season. (Courtesy: ISL Media)
Kiyan Nassiri, the son of East Bengal legend Jamshed Nassiri, introduced himself to the ISL fans last season and that too, in style. He couldn’t have picked a better game to do so, doing it in ATK Mohun Bagan’s 3-1 win over SC East Bengal in the 2021-22 season. It was a game full of drama and emotion, with the Red & Golds taking the lead in the 56th minute through Darren Sidoel. Juan Ferrando decided to make a gamble and bring on Nassiri in the 61st minute. The rest, is history. The youngster scored the equalizer three minutes after coming on.
He kept troubling the opposition with his movement and work in the final third. Nassiri then produced a finish his father would’ve been proud of, to score his second in the 91st minute. He completed his hat-trick with another clinical goal two minutes later, becoming the youngest goal-scorer to bag a hat-trick in ISL history. Nassiri did it at the age of 21 years, 73 days – producing the best-ever individual substitute performance from an Indian player in ISL history.
4. Ferran Corominas vs Kerala Blasters (2017-18)
Ferran Corominas is widely considered as one of the best players in ISL history. He used to hold the record for the most goals in ISL, with 48 goals in just 57 appearances for FC Goa. While that has been thwarted, one record he still holds is that of the fastest ISL hat-trick. That happened in FC Goa’s thrilling 5-2 win over Kerala Blasters in the 2017-18 season. The game itself was a highly entertaining one, finishing 2-2 at half time.
But cue Coro to make an impact in the second half. He started the half in emphatic fashion, putting his side back into the lead in the 47th minute. He then stormed his way to score two more goals by the 54th minute, scoring a seven-minute hat-trick. That record is yet to be broken and unlikely to be surpassed anytime soon.
3. Greg Stewart vs Odisha FC (2021-22)
Greg Stewart has been loving life in the ISL since he arrived last season. In 30 ISL appearances, he has 12 goals and 16 assists – recording a goal involvement in almost every game. But his best-ever performance in an ISL game was in Jamshedpur FC’s 4-0 win over Odisha FC last season.
Greg Stewart’s goal from this free-kick is perhaps one of the best the ISL has ever seen. (Courtesy: ISL Media)
He produced a showing for the ages, inspiring his side to a big win. Stewart kick-started things by assisting Peter Hartley’s opening goal in the third minute. Then he scored his first goal a minute later with a nice right-footed finish. Stewart’s second came in the 21st minute, a perfect free-kick before he capped off a perfect performance with his third goal in the 34th minute. It was the most perfect performance he or Jamshedpur FC fans could’ve imagined, helping them get a dominant win.
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2. Modou Sougou vs Kerala Blasters (2018-19)
Mumbai City fans should be quite familiar with their former striker Modou Sougou, who played for them for two seasons. Sougou scored 12 goals in his debut season with the Islanders, which included one record-setting performance. Sougou proved just how lethal a striker he can be in their home game against Kerala Blasters in the 2018-19 season.
He decided to completely embarrass the Kerala defenders and scored a 30-minute hat-trick in the first half, helping his side take a massive 3-1 lead. Sougou then scored another one in the 94th minute and thus became the only player to score four goals in a single game in ISL history. Sougou’s record is yet to be broken, with his incredible performances being among the very best in the competition so far.
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1. Nasser El Khayati vs NorthEast United (2022-23)
Abdenasser El Khayati has been an absolute revelation for Chennaiyin FC since arriving in the ISL this season. He has played six games for them, in which he has 11 goal involvements (seven goals, four assists). The Dutch midfielder is playing at a higher level than anyone else in the league right now.
Nasser El Khayati – the pedlar of dreams for Chennaiyin FC fans. (Courtesy: ISL Media)
The 33-year-old decided to show his full potential in Chennaiyin FC’s thrilling 7-3 win over NorthEast United recently. He opened the scoring in the 11th minute with a thumping finish from close range to begin his onslaught. He would then go on to score twice more, netting a hat-trick – a rare achievement for a midfielder in ISL history. But he wasn’t done there.
El Khayati also assisted Petar Sliskovic’s second goal and Julius Duker’s goal in the second half, grabbing a brace of assists too. He has set the record for most goal contributions in a match (five) by an individual in ISL history, a feat that probably won’t be matched anytime soon.
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