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ISL 2023-24: Top five players with most interceptions

Published at :February 21, 2024 at 7:27 PM
Modified at :February 21, 2024 at 7:28 PM
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(Courtesy : ISL Media)

JN Balraj

The name topping this list might come a surprise to many ISL followers.

With years passing by, the Indian Super League has become more intense and demanding, as players are now expected to break the lines and penetrate defences more often. Against such a brand of football, the role of defensive midfielders and defenders require interception as a crucial component to protect a team’s backline.

To intercept the ball, a player needs to be on his toes reading the game while also maintaining good positioning. In Indian football, many players are good with their positioning but to make an interception they need to be a step ahead of the passer in their head. There are a few rare artists who can execute this method of winning the ball back with almost perfection.

This piece contains the list of players with most interceptions in the ongoing ISL 2023-24 season (up to gameweek 15). 

5. Elsinho (23 interceptions in 16 matches)

ISL 2023-24: Top five players with most interceptions Elsinho
Elsinho in action against Punjab FC. (Courtesy: ISL)

The towering Brazilian has mostly played as a defensive midfielder in his career before coming to India. He was deployed as a centre-back under Scott Cooper and was a commanding figure in the error-prone backline of the English manager. When Khalid Jamil took over, he played Elsinho in his natural position and the master has been among the best in the league in that position.

Elsinho proved to be a reliable defensive stalwart for his club Jamshedpur FC. With 23 tackles, he has portrayed his game intelligence and immense ability to disrupt opponent’s attacks.

4. Mohammed Ali Bemammer (23 interceptions in 14 matches)

ISL 2023-24: Top five players with most interceptions Mohammed Ali Bemammer
Bemammer is the guardian of the Highlanders’ backline. (Courtesy: ISL)

Hailing from Morocco, Mohammed Ali Bemammer has showcased his dominance in the middle of the park for the Highlanders. He too, has registered 23 tackles to his name, but in fewer games than Elsinho. His physical presence and timing are key to breaking up opposition plays and regaining possession for his team.

NorthEast United are a serious contender for that sixth playoff spot, and Bemammer will be a vital component in achieving the same.

3. Nikhil Prabhu (27 interceptions in 14 matches)

ISL 2023-24: Top five players with most interceptions Nikhil Prabhu
Prabhu launching a tackle on Jamshedpur’s Steve Ambri. (Courtesy: ISL)

The 23-year old Nikhil Prabhu is a journeyman in the Indian Super League, with a plethora of experience of playing under many elite coaches. The youngster is trying to set his foot and has been a formidable presence on the pitch for the newly-promoted I-League outfit Punjab FC.

With 27 tackles in 14 games, Nikhil has caught the attention of the fans. His energy, agility, and tactical awareness made him a vital asset for the Shers. 

2. Pritam Kotal (27 interceptions in 14 matches)

ISL 2023-24: Top five players with most interceptions Pritam Kotal
Kotal is the most experienced Indian defender at Kerala Blasters. (Courtesy: ISL)

The veteran defender is second on the list with 27 interceptions under his belt (played lesser games than Nikhil Prabhu). Despite being traded to Kerala Blasters FC in the summer, Pritam has moved on and become an inspiring figure in Ivan Vukomanovic’s dressing room.

1. PC Laldinpuia (29 interceptions in 15 matches)

ISL 2023-24: Top five players with most interceptions PC Laldinpuia
Laldinpuia has been a revelation at Jamshedpur! (Courtesy: ISL)

PC Laldinpuia tops the list leaving behind experienced stalwarts, demonstrating maturity beyond his time in the ISL. Despite being a utility player for two seasons at Jamshedpur FC, the youngster kept performing in the limited chances he got. Eventually, he reaped the benefits for his consistency and unmatched professionalism when Scott Cooper gave him the game-time he deserved.

The defender continued to impress amid inconsistent performances from the team. Consequently, under Khalid Jamil, Dinpuia was handed the command of the defence as Elsinho moved up to the anchor role. This season he has made 29 interceptions and his ability to abrupt the play and win the ball back has earned him praises from pundits and fans.

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