Once again, the foreigners dominated the proceedings with their influential contributions.
The eighth week of football in the Indian Super League (ISL 2022-23) witnessed drama, comebacks, goals, and some entertaining football. The action started at the Kalinga Stadium where Odisha FC defeated Chennaiyin FC in a 3-2 humdinger. Mumbai City continued their undefeated run, while NorthEast United’s winless streak is yet to end.
Parthib Gogoi cut back the Islanders’ early lead through a Jahouh penalty. But Bipin and Jorge Pereyra Diaz scored to hand Mumbai their fifth win of the season. Bengaluru FC ended their four-game winless run the past week with a 0-2 win against FC Goa thanks to a brace from Javi Hernandez. Hyderabad FC slumped to their second consecutive 1-0 loss, this time at the hands of ATK Mohun Bagan.
A brace from Cleiton Silva (made him the current top-scorer) post an early goal from VP Suhair ensured East Bengal closed the gameweek with their third win of the season. Mumbai City remain top of the league table with 18 points followed by Hyderabad in the second spot with 16. Odisha FC, ATK Mohun Bagan, FC Goa and Kerala Blasters occupy the other four playoff spots, respectively.
On that note, let’s take a look at the top five performers from the recently concluded week of ISL football.
5. Parthib Gogoi
Parthib Gogoi briefly lit up the glum around the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati in the 1-3 loss to Mumbai City. Despite the defeat, the 19-year-old showed glimpses of his quality with a wonderful goal against the Islanders. He is also the only Indian to feature in this list.
Gogoi completed 91% of his passes and also made one interception in his 67-minute stint for Marco Balbul’s men. In a side bereft of a win and any inspiration, Gogoi became the silver lining that evening and could prove to be the difference for them this season.
4. Hugo Boumous
Hugo Boumous continued to show why he is among the best players in the league. The midfielder scored the only goal in the tight 1-0 win against Hyderabad FC. He pretty much conducted the gameplay for ATK Mohun Bagan and ensured that the Mariners didn’t feel the absence of Joni Kauko.
Boumous created a whopping five chances on the night, completed 67% of his passes and also won two tackles. Boumous only had 49 touches in the game, the fifth highest in the ATKMB side. But his five chances show the directness that the Frenchman employed and the problems he caused for Manolo Marquez’s men all night.
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3. Cleiton Silva
The Brazilian continued his wonderful form for East Bengal this season. Cleiton scored a brace against Jamshedpur FC and led his side to their third win of the season. Coming on the back of a 2-4 loss against Odisha FC, East Bengal faced a Jamshedpur FC side low on confidence but playing at their home.
In a tricky contest, Cleiton showed his class with two goals, taking eight shots with three on target (including the two which led to goals). He had the fourth-highest number of touches by any East Bengal player on the night (64). He completed 85% of his passes which is a wonderful rate for a forward. Cleiton also made one clearance and inspired his side at every part of the pitch. He also combined really well with Naorem Mahesh Singh (who assisted all three goals for East Bengal) to cause problems and punish the creaky Jamshedpur FC defence.
Cleiton made it to the top spot among the goal-scorers this season with five strikes to his name. Five goals among the 11 that East Bengal have scored this season have come from the 35-year-old. This shows his increasing importance to Stephen Constantine’s side.
2. Nasser El Khayati
Nasser El Khayati once again spurred Chennaiyin FC’s comeback in the game against Odisha FC. Coming on with his side 2-0 down, El Khayati halved the deficit at the hour mark. He converted a penalty in the 93rd minute which seemed to get his side a point on the night.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be. However, El Khayati completed only 41% of his passes, but he continued to prove his quality with his dribbling and build-up play leading to the two goals. The Dutchman continues to cause problems for opposition defenders and selection problems for Thomas Brdaric with his impactful contributions from the bench.
1. Javi Hernandez
Bengaluru FC had their backs to the wall with a four-game winless run in the ISL 2022-23. They came to the home of the Gaurs who were on a high after defeating ATK Mohun Bagan 3-0 at the Fatorda just a week ago. The Blues needed an inspirational figure and Javi Hernandez put his hand up when needed the most.
The Spaniard scored both the goals and led his side to a morale-boosting win against Carlos Pena’s FC Goa. Along with his brace, Javi also created one chance, completed 62% of his passes and also won one tackle and made a clearance. More importantly, with Roy Krishna out of form and struggling to get any good service, the Spaniard took matters into his own hands and drove his side ahead with quality and purpose.
Special Mention: East Bengal winger Naorem Mahesh Singh assisted thrice in the game against Jamshedpur. This feat elevates him to the top of the assists chart alongside Dimitri Petratos and Greg Stewart with five contributions to his name.