These custodians were strong between the sticks for their respective teams.

Sir Alex Ferguson once said, “Attack wins you games, defence wins you titles.” One of the most important cogs in the defensive machine is the goalkeeper. After your backline, the custodian is the last man standing. This year, we have seen some prolific goalscorers gracing the pitch. Moreover, we have also witnessed some youthful and experienced performances from our Indian goalkeepers. With the New Year knocking on our doors, Khel Now looks at the five goalkeepers in Indian football who kept the most number of clean-sheets in 2021:

5. Dheeraj Singh (4)

The 21-year old has been a revelation this year for the Indian football community. Singh became the first-ever Indian to be named in the AFC Champions League’s Team of the Tournament this year.

Two of his clean-sheets came in the Indian Super League’s last season, thanks to 0-0 stalemates against Hyderabad FC and Mumbai City FC. The young goalkeeper’s highlight of the season would be his remarkable performances against Al-Rayyan and Al-Wahda in the Champions League.

He hasn’t yet hit his best form in the new campaign, but the future of Indian goalkeeping is surely in safe hands.

4. Arindam Bhattacharya (4)

Arindam Bhattacharya SC East Bengal
Arindam shifted base to SCEB after making an appearance in the ISL 2020-21 final with ATKMB

The SC East Bengal skipper had a brilliant 2020-21 season with ATK Mohun Bagan, with whom he won the prestigious Golden Glove. The first half of this year was starkly better than the second for the seasoned custodian. Bhattacharya’s first clean-sheet of the calendar year came against NorthEast United. The remaining three were registered while he was playing for ATKMB.

So far this season, he has failed to keep a single clean-sheet in the four matches played. Arindam was also out for some time owing to an injury and has a lot of work to do in order to come back to his glory days.

3. Rehenesh TP (7)

The 28-year-old Jamshedpur FC goalkeeper has been one of the best in the league for the past few years. 2021’s first clean-sheet for the custodian was the draw against Hyderabad FC on 24th January. This season, he already has two under his belt, including a massive 4-0 win over Odisha FC.

2. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (8)

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu India Indian Football Team SAFF Championship 2021
Gurpreet won the SAFF Championship with India this year

The Indian national team’s No. 1 comes in at second place, having registered eight clean-sheets in 30 matches across all competitions. He recorded his first clean-sheet against SC East Bengal, which was followed by a brilliant 0-0 display against Chennaiyin FC.

Gurpreet held his ground against Bangladesh in the World Cup Qualifiers. Mention must be made for clean-sheets against Sri Lanka and Nepal, which led India to their eighth SAFF Championship title.

1. Amrinder Singh (8)

Before moving to Kolkata side ATK Mohun Bagan, Singh was part of the title-winning Mumbai City FC. He narrowly missed out on the Golden Glove, despite having the same number of clean-sheets (10) as Arindam Bhattacharya throughout the season.

Singh tops the list over Gurpreet, simply owing to the number of matches played (28- two less than Sandhu). On the second day of 2021, he helped MCFC to a 2-0 victory over Kerala Blasters. His exploits include clean-sheets against Bengaluru FC in the AFC Cup and arch-rivals SC East Bengal in the 2021-22 season.

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