A-League alumni are lighting up the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) season with three in the race for the golden boot.
It is perhaps not a surprise that Adam Le Fondre and Roy Krishna are finding the target - and the two meet in an eagerly-awaited table-topping clash on Monday - but Jordan Murray has been making headlines of late.
On Sunday, the former Central Coast Mariners forward scored two late goals to hand struggling Kerala Blasters a crucial 3-2 win over Jamshedpur. It was the 25-year-old’s third goal in two games and his fifth so far this season.
The Australian showed his predatory instincts by being in the right place at the right time twice in the space of three minutes.
The first, that put Kerala ahead with 11 minutes remaining, came from a rebound from close range after the goalkeeper had made the save. Soon after the same goalie spilled a simple ball and there was Murray to seal the win much to the disgust of Jamshedpur boss Owen Coyle.
He also went close to grabbing a hat-trick for the ten-man Blasters in the dying seconds but blasted over from a good position. Still, it was a welcome second win of the season.
“We showed our character in a game and showed that we are competitive,” said coach Kibu Vicuna.
“Jordan Murray got the goals that we needed and it was a fine team performance and we are delighted with the points and now we look forward to the next game.”
Impressively, Murray, who started the season coming off the bench, has started just five games and scored five goals in that time and is one of the in-form players of the entire league. Things are looking up for Kerala though the southerners are still just one place above the bottom.
Le Fondre, who joined Mumbai from Sydney in October, and Krishna are duking it out at the top of the table. Both have six goals each so far and are joint second in the striking standings.
The two meet on Monday and a win for Mumbai will send them five points clear though ATK will go top if they get the three points.
Whatever happens, Le Fondre is enjoying himself.
“I was part of something really good in Australia, and this was a continuance of that,” the English striker told The Hindustan Times recently.
“I have tasted success in Australia and England, and I’m hoping I can bring my winning mentality across and we can rub off each other and win some silverware this season.
The English striker is confident that City can go all the way.
“I’ve got total belief, as long as everyone else has it as well. I don’t see why not—we’ve got a great group here and a really good chance, having looked at the first few games and using that as a yardstick.”
Overall, Le Fondre, who scored 20 goals last season for Sydney, is impressed with the standard on the subcontinent.
“It’s an exciting league. The technical level is good; there are maybe a few patches in the experience of game management and the tactical side of things. But there’s a lot of scope. There are a lot of good players here who just need a bit of polishing.”
Krishna’s goals played a big part in ATK becoming champions last season and the Fijian forward has carried on where he left off.
This season the former Wellington Phoenix hotshot has forged a good understanding with ex-Melbourne City star David Williams.
Williams is looking forward to the big game against Mumbai. “I think it’s going to be the match of the season,” he said.
“This match is very important, as far as the league table is concerned. Both teams will jump for three points. Both teams have enough experience...As a result, the match seems to be exciting. There is no reason not to defeat Mumbai. I am very optimistic that we will be at the top of the league.”
Robbie Fowler is at the opposite end of the table. The former Brisbane Roar boss had a desperate start in charge of East Bengal. With just one point from the first five games (not great when the regular season lasts just 20 games), fans of the Kolkata giants were growing restless but two wins and three draws from the last five suggests that Bengal are moving in the right direction. With the top four teams heading into the final playoff series, then there is still time for the ex-Liverpool star to make a late charge for glory.