Several Mohun Bagan players feature in our picks after their fabulous victory against NEROCA.
The I-League teams provided enough love to their fans during Valentine’s week, coming up with some blistering action to round off another set of thrilling encounters. Mohun Bagan gave their beloved fans the best possible gift with a scintillating display against NEROCA FC, maintaining their surge towards the league title.
Punjab FC went back to winning ways and derailed Real Kashmir’s title endeavours. Churchill Brothers continued their good home form, while Gokulam Kerala surpassed Chennai City to gain the Southern Derby bragging rights.
So here is Khel Now’s I-League team of the week 9 –
Goalkeeper: Sayan Roy (TRAU FC)
TRAU FC are going through a bit of a rough patch with all their internal problems, but Sayan Roy ensured things didn’t go from bad to worse against Chennai City FC. Up against the defending champions, the 28-year-old was in top form between the sticks.
He made a flurry of excellent saves, denying the unrelenting attacks and frustrating the visitors. Roy’s multiple saves ensured a point as well as a clean-sheet for TRAU. He was also awarded the Man of the Match for his heroic showing.
Right-Back: Ashutosh Mehta (Mohun Bagan)
Ashutosh Mehta’s rise continues at Mohun Bagan, as he maintained his superb work on the right against a wobbly NEROCA. While he couldn’t avert the two goals his side conceded, Mehta was like an indomitable rock, making crunching challenges to thwart danger and nullify NEROCA’s supply through his side.
He retained his tireless demeanour in working up and down the field looking to get things done, as his ever-improving performance-levels prove that the Mariners’ opponents must think twice before attacking down his flank.
I-League 2019-20: Team of the Week 9
Centre-Back: Andre Ettienne (Gokulam Kerala)
Gokulam Kerala didn’t get the most convincing win over Chennai City, but the Malabarians got the job done to snatch bragging rights for themselves. They were defensively stellar on the day, with centre-back Andre Ettienne putting in a solid performance.
He managed to keep Fito and Jan Muzangu from troubling his side, making some timely challenges to thwart their efforts. Ettienne ended up gaining another clean-sheet for Gokulam, further adding to their defensive reputation.
Centre-Back: Fran Gonzalez Munoz (Mohun Bagan)
Fran Gonzalez is proving to be a one-of-a-kind wonder for Bagan. Despite playing as a centre-back, he was determined to make his presence felt against NEROCA. He opened the scoring with an emphatic header, before coming up with another one, minutes later to pile on NEROCA’s misery.
Munoz would then go on to miss a penalty, but redeemed himself with a clever finish before half-time to complete his hat-trick. He was defensively pretty solid in shutting down NEROCA, while leading from the front with a vibrant attitude to guide the Mariners to another win.
Left-Back: Munmun Lugun (Punjab FC)
Munmun Lugun rose up when Punjab FC needed him to stay strong in two daunting games, as he put in compelling performances against both East Bengal and Real Kashmir. The former Delhi Dynamos star nullified the Red and Gold Brigade’s supply through his side, frustrating them with his sturdy defensive work.
He also ensured the Snow Leopards couldn’t get too many crosses in through his side, putting in an efficient performance to guide his team to another clean-sheet.
Central Midfield: Imran Khan (NEROCA FC)
Imran Khan returned to play against his former side in Mohun Bagan and despite coming out on the losing side, he impressed with his industrious work down the middle.
Khan controlled NEROCA’s creative flow in midfield, making some excellent incisive passes to fool the Mariners’ backline and create space for his teammates. Khan’s tireless work in midfield proves he’ll be a key player, as the Orange Army fight to avoid relegation this season.
Central Midfield: Joseba Beitia (Mohun Bagan)
Mohun Bagan put out a demolition derby on NEROCA by pumping in six goals and Joseba Beitia played a part in almost every one of them. He assisted both of Munoz’s first two goals with inch-perfect crosses, while his corners tormented NEROCA and resulted in Morante’s strike as well.
His dangerous corner also forced a botched clearance which led to Alexander Jesuraj’s goal. Overall, Beitia put in a 5-star showing to prove why he’s the league’s best playmaker at the moment.
Right Wing: Subash Singh (NEROCA FC)
Just like Imran Khan, Subash Singh couldn’t gain anything for his side during their thrashing by Mohun Bagan, but the experienced winger did put on a show in attack. While his defence crumbled, Singh kept his spirits up. He moved around and linked up with his teammates really well.
Singh teed up Philip Adjah’s strike before getting on the score-sheet himself by converting the second goal with a clever finish.
Central Attacking Midfield: Jaime Santos Colado (East Bengal)
East Bengal finally got their first win under interim head coach Mario Rivera and he was aided by fellow Spaniard Jaime Santos Colado, who flexed his muscles against Indian Arrows. Colado started the game high on adrenaline, before scoring a brilliant goal from long-range.
He then forced the Red and Gold Brigade’s other goals, with his precise corner leading to Lalrindika Ralte’s strike. Colado’s proactive performance proved why he can still be trusted to get the job done and usher a turnaround in East Bengal’s season.
Left Wing: Girik Khosla (Punjab FC)
Girik Khosla earned a rare start for Punjab FC against East Bengal and made the best use of his opportunity. He moved around the left flank with vigour, always looking eager to get things done for his side.
Khosla scored the equalizer for Punjab by popping up the far post. He troubled Samad Ali Mallick with his unpredictable work and gained a precious point for the Warriors.
Striker: Aser Pierrick Dipanda Dicka (Punjab FC)
Dipanda Dicka was frustrated during his visit to Kolkata, but returned to form when Punjab FC hosted a sturdy Real Kashmir. He troubled their defenders with his movement, goading them out of position to create nuisance. Dicka then scored his ninth goal of the season by playing a nice one-two with Cavin Lobo, before striking a comfortable finish into the net.
The former Mohun Bagan striker’s effort ended up being the winner, as he helped his side to another crucial three points and moved back atop of the I-League top scorers’ chart.