After weeks of domination by foreign stars on the scoresheet it was finally time for the local talent to shine in front of goal.
As the Derby Weekend has concluded, India witnessed some magnificent performances and goals in the domestic tournaments. The Indian Super League (ISL) caused some massive uproar as Seiminlen Doungel became the first Indian this season to score a hat-trick, Elsewhere, Sunil Chhetri increased his goalscoring tally as he fired Bengaluru FC to the top of the table. Defending champions ATK faced a disappointing 3-0 thrashing as FC Pune City completed a double over them.
On the other hand, the I-League delivered the much awaited Kolkata Derby in style as East Bengal were forced to a defeat against arch-rivals Mohun Bagan. Newcomers NEROCA FC increased their unbeaten run to nine games, Gokulam Kerala and Churchill Brothers handed shocks to their respective opponents. Let’s take a look at who the most impressive Indian players of the week were.
Goalkeeper: Vishal Kaith (FC Pune City)
Arguably, the best goalkeeper in the last gameweek of the ISL. The 21-year-old custodian stood like a wall in front of the Pune bars IN his side’s fixture against defending champions ATK. His aerial prowess caught the eye of spectators and pundits alike against the Kolkata franchise. In the 96 minutes Kaith was on the pitch, he made two saves and eight catches, as well as a clearance, helping his side to prevail over the visitors.
Indian Football Team of the Week 10
Right back: Wayne Vaz (Churchill Brothers)
On loan from ISL side FC Pune City, Vaz has been instrumental in Churchill Brothers’ recent string of turnaround performances. His heroics in his side’s previous match against Shillong Lajong were applauded by many. The full-back kept bombarding down the right flank and put in several crosses. Quick to track back, Vaz’s defensive work, although raw to some extent helped the Goans to keep a clean sheet against Shillong and snatch full points in the process.
Centre-Back: Gurtej Singh (FC Pune City)
One of the biggest reasons behind FC Pune City’s total domination in the game against ATK. A ball-playing defender, Gurtej was seen going up and down throughout the match, breaking up play and helping the midfielders distributr the ball. Singh registered a staggering 88% passing accuracy in the fixture, along with nine clearances which speak volumes of his defensive work in the game. He also made two very important interceptions, denying ATK any space in the box and a chance to score in the process.
Centre-Back: Kinshuk Debnath (Mohun Bagan A.C.)
The veteran defender was formidable in Mohun Bagan’s win against East Bengal in the Kolkata Derby. The experienced defender was quick to react to aerial balls and made several interceptions in the game, which left the East Bengal attackers clueless in the process. His two back-to-back blocks in the second half against Dudu in the box helped Mohun Bagan not to concede any goal, which one might dub as a Man of the Match display in such a high voltage game.
Left Lack: Yumnam Raju (Jamshedpur FC)
One of the most underrated defenders in the country in recent times. Since the beginning of the season, Raju has been an integral part of the Steve Coppell’s plans. The 28-year-old Jamshedpur FC full-back had an impressive outing against Delhi Dynamos as he managed to score the equalizer early in the second half. The former NorthEast United defender also linked up well with Bikash Jairu and Izu Azuka, creating a chance in the process. Defensively, he successfully blocked the Dynamos’ efforts three times and made one clearance as well.
Right Midfielder: Jerry Mawihmingthanga (Jamshedpur FC)
Jerry scored the fastest goal in Indian Super League history
Another creative player in the squad. Jerry was instrumental in Jamshedpur’s win against Delhi on Sunday as he created two chances and also was able to register his name on the assists sheet. Although, the 20-year-old Mizo player had fallen prey to physically superior opponents, his pace helped him out of tricky situations many times in the game. The former NorthEast United midfielder also displayed his set-piece prowess as he was responsible for five corner and two free-kicks in the game.
Central Midfielder: Brandon Fernandes (FC Goa)
One of the unsung heroes of his side’s dominance against Kerala Blasters. Fernandes delivered an impressive performance against the Southerners as he registered a 75% pass completion rate and ended the game as one of the most creative players on the pitch. The 23-year-old midfielder created two chances and also registered his name on the assists sheet as he successfully crafted Edu Bedia’s winner in the second half. The former Churchill Brothers protégé was also impressive in tracking back as he registered one clearance and once block.
Central Midfielder: Anirudh Thapa (Chennaiyin FC)
The young midfielder put up quite a show in Chennaiyin’s defeat against NorthEast United. Although, his side lost in the end, Thapa’s brilliance was visible to the naked eye. A powerhouse in the middle of the pitch, he registered a 73% pass completion rate as he went on to score the only goal of his side. He also contributed defensively with one interception and a very important block.
Left Midfielder: Britto PM (Churchill Brothers)
One of the architects in Churchill’s win against Shillong Lajong last week. Britto was instrumental going on forward runs and his dribbles made it harder for the opposition defenders to mark him. He scored the second and final goal for his side on 76 minutes. The Churchill attacker was also dominant on the ball, distributing it evenly throughout the match and building up the play.
Striker: Seiminlen Doungel (NorthEast United FC)
Len Doungel made history as he scored NorthEast United FC’s first ever ISL hat-trick
The first Indian this season to score a hat-trick in the ISL, Doungel was arguably the best Indian attacker in the last gameweek of the league. The NorthEast United winger scored a brace in the first half before adding the third in the second, being awarded as the Hero of the Match in the process. With a 100% shooting accuracy against visitors Chennaiyin FC, Doungel could have also gotten on the assists chart as he created a chance in the second half. The 24-year-old Manipuri winger also contributed defensively to his side as he made one interception, two clearances and four blocks.
Striker: Sunil Chhetri (Bengaluru FC)
Captain Fantastic was on song in Mumbai
The Bengaluru FC skipper has been in red-hot form this season as he scored yet another brace against his former side Mumbai City. Chhetri registered a staggering 75% passing accuracy against the Mumbaikars, helping his side to build attacking runs as well as coming back to the midfield to win the ball back. He scored his first goal from a penalty in the 43rd minute and his second early in the second half. The Secundrabad-born attacker’s heroics were awarded at the end of the game when he was named as the Hero of the Match by the officials.