We witnessed some fabulous pile-drivers this past week.

The ninth gameweek of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 concluded with Kerala Blasters securing a 1-0 victory against Jamshedpur FC at the JRD Tata Sports Complex on Sunday. Earlier, the likes of ATK Mohun Bagan and Odisha FC managed to sneak victories by slender margins against Bengaluru FC and NorthEast United, respectively.

Hyderabad FC sparked a turnaround in their brief run of insipid form by triumphing 3-1 over Chennaiyin FC. However, the most convincing performance of the week was delivered by Mumbai City as they hosted and humiliated FC Goa by 4-1 at the Mumbai Football Arena (MFA) on Thursday.

On that note, Khel Now takes a look at the five best performers from the aforementioned five matches.

5. Chinglensana Singh

Hyderabad FC head coach Manolo Marquez had demanded a sharp response from his players after questioning their lack of hunger post their defeat to ATK Mohun Bagan on 26th November. The Nizams needed one of their key players to step up against Chennaiyin and Chinglensana Singh assumed and carried out that responsibility with perfection.

Chinglensana Singh up against Nasser El Khayati of Chennaiyin FC. (Courtesy: ISL Media)

The central defender delivered an impeccable performance at the back, making two tackles and five clearances whilst maintaining a passing accuracy of 83 per cent. He had the third-most touches on the ball (56) amongst the Hyderabad players after Akash Mishra (72) and Odei Onaindia (59). More importantly though, he pounced upon a corner in the 74th minute to volley it cleanly into the back of the net to double his team’s lead and effectively secure the game.

4. Nandhakumar Sekar

Nandhakumar Sekar has really improved on his goal-scoring abilities this season and it reflected again in his neat finish off a Diego Mauricio cross that helped Odisha FC draw first blood in their encounter against NorthEast United. The goal came on the back of a collective, fluid attacking move pulled off by the Juggernauts.

However, the awareness to get to the end of a cross that was slightly wide off the required target speaks highly of Nandhakumar’s ability to sneak and score goals from chances that players might have squandered otherwise. He was a constant threat to the Highlanders, taking four shots, making six crosses and getting a successful interception to his name as well. The winger is the highest-placed Indian and fifth overall in the list of the most goal-scorers in the on-going season of the ISL.

3. Greg Stewart

Greg Stewart has taken to Mumbai City like fish to water as he delivered yet another clutch performance under trying circumstances against FC Goa to help his team overcome Carlos Pena’s side in style. The 30-year-old assisted twice and took four shots at goal in the 67 minutes that he spent on the field.

Greg Stewart in action against FC Goa. (Courtesy: ISL Media)

He orchestrated most of Mumbai’s attacking moves in the final third, often dictating the tempo of the proceedings and wreaking havoc on the Gaurs’ backline with some flawless interlinking with his fellow forwards. Stewart demonstrated great sensibility for the second assist. He spotted Alberto Noguera eager to take a shot from distance and drilled in a low cross that deflected off an FC Goa player to land in the Spaniard’s path and then into the net for Mumbai’s fourth goal of the night.

2. Dimitri Petratos

ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC played out a tightly-contested battle with either team refusing to concede an inch for over four quarters of the game. As the clock ticked past the hour mark, it became imminent that only an individual moment of brilliance could help a team take three points from this match. Thankfully for the Mariners, it was their dynamic Australian forward Dimitri Petratos who decided to turn up the heat with a thumping goal from distance at the Kanteerava in the 66th minute of the game.

As both teams were engaged in a midfield tussle, Ashique Kuruniyan won the ball back in midfield and passed it to Hugo Boumous. The French-Moroccan attacking midfielder was smart enough to lay it through for Petratos who swiftly made space for himself and then sent the ball past a diving Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to ensure that Juan Ferrando’s men picked all three points from this crucial away fixture.  

1. Jorge Pereyra Diaz

Jorge Pereyra Diaz celebrating his goal against FC Goa. (Courtesy: ISL Media)

Jorge Pereyra Diaz has really come into his own after a sluggish start to the ISL 2022-23 season as he bagged a brace in Mumbai City’s 4-1 victory against FC Goa. The Argentine forward displayed some impeccable finishing skills as he struck goals at times when opportunities were coming far and few in between for the Islanders.

First, he linked wonderfully with Stewart near the box to get to the end of a short pass made by the ex-Jamshedpur FC star and strike it calmly past Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem. He had a little bit more time to notch the second goal, as Diaz received a pass from Lallianzuala Chhangte, took a moment to adjust his angle before firing the ball straight into the back of the net. In addition to the two goals, Diaz also created two goal-scoring opportunities as he was an absolute menace to deal with for the FC Goa backline.

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