With the youngsters predominantly shining out in Indian football, Khel Now takes a look at the best Indian players from the week gone by.
The Indian Football scene saw quite a few entertaining matches taking place over the week, with both the I-League and Indian Super League having some important bout which had it’s impact upon both the leagues’ tables. Minerva Punjab and Chennaiyin FC were arguably the winners for the respective competitions, with the Warriors gaining two vital away victories and the Super Machans seeing off stiff competition in FC Pune City and ending the week as table-toppers.
Some of the Indian talents from the leagues shone through in this busy week of football, with some new-comers making their way into our team of the week. So Let’s take a look at the Khel Now Indian Team of the Week.
Goalkeeper: Rakshit Dagar (Minerva Punjab FC)
As Minerva Punjab recorded two historic away victories over Mohun Bagan and Shillong Lajong last week, their stunning defensive work was key to them and the one who truly shone for them this week was Rakshit Dagar. The solid goalkeeper of Minerva looked ready for the competition and pulled off some amazing saves against Mohun Bagan, even saving a penalty in the first half.
He was even better against the dangerous attack of Shillong Lajong and kept on making one save after the other, showing great acrobatics and strength in securing the danger. Dagar was named “Hero of the Match” for his heroics against Lajong and turned many eyes upon him with his amazing work.
Right-Back: Pritam Kotal (Delhi Dynamos)
Kotal goal Vs Kerala Blasters
Pritam Kotal proved why he’s considered by many as the best right-back in the country with his influential performances for Delhi Dynamos, who seem to be recovering from their slumber. Delhi’s captain scored a clever goal against Kerala Blasters, but turned it up a notch against Bengaluru FC.
Not only did Kotal link up amazingly with Romeo Fernandes, he also assisted a goal and looked solid in defending. He marked Sunil Chhetri really well on that flank, making 3 crucial tackles and an interception to stop Bengaluru from getting past him and helping his side to an important victory.
Team of the Week 9
Center-Back: Sukhdev Singh (Minerva Punjab FC)
While the likes of Chencho Gyeltshen and William Opoku might be getting all the credits for Minerva Punjab’s decisive victories last week, their Indian players deserve equal praise for their amazing work. Sukhdev Singh was another man who led from the front to get the victories, as he was terrific in shutting out Dipanda Dicka against Mohun Bagan and Abdoulaye Koffi against Lajong.
The assertive, confident defender has been a rock for Minerva Punjab so far this season and proved to be unbreakable last week, helping Punjab get another clean-sheet and 6 massive points.
Center-Back: Davinder Singh (Mumbai City FC)
While Mumbai City FC didn’t really get their desired result against Kerala Blasters last weekend, they did take some positives from the game. One of those positives was the impressive performance from young Davinder Singh, who gave a strong performance where he did very well at keeping CK Vineeth and Iain Hume at bay.
He stuck close to his markers and showed impressive defensive awareness, making 3 important clearances and also contributing to attack. The young defender definitely made a statement in this sour result for Mumbai and proved why he should start more often for Alexandre Guimaraes’ side.
Left-Back: Lalruatthara (Kerala Blasters FC)
Lalruatthara is emerging to be one of the best finds of the season in the Indian Super League so far, with the 23-year-old looking superb in defense so far for Kerala Blasters. He gave a string of solid performances last week for his side, especially impressing against Mumbai City FC.
While he was great against the Dynamos and did well to keep them at bay, he was so much better against Mumbai City where he completely neutralized Sanju Pradhan’s game. Lalruatthara made an amazing 7 tackles, along with 3 clearances to show for his amazing performance and was awarded the “Emerging player of the match” award for his heroics.
Center-Midfield: David Lalrinmuana (Aizawl FC)
Aizawl FC recorded an important win at home to Chennai City FC after quite a long gap from their last fixture and absolutely blew apart Chennai in the first half. They displayed some scintillating football and midfielder David Lalrinmuana also contributed a lot to their stunning attacking display. He looked pretty dangerous on the attack and earned the penalty for Aizawl, which was dispatched by Kobayashi. David then added himself to the score-sheet a few minutes later when his left-foot attempt narrowly went past the keeper and wrapped up 3 points for Aizawl and summed up a great outing for David.
Center-Midfield: Abhijit Sarkar (Indian Arrows)
Indian Arrows got another important victory under their belt, when they thrwarted Gokulam Kerala FC away from home and stayed clear of the relegation zone. Abhijit Sarkar was the hero of the day for the young Colts, with the midfielder looking dangerous as ever going into attack.
Sarkar has proved to be hard-working attacker for the Arrows and often finds himself at the right place at the right time. He did exactly that against Kerala when he found Rahul KP’s pass and scored the winner for Arrows, proving how these young lads are more than capable of surviving in the I-League.
Right-Wing: Laldanmawia Ralte (East Bengal)
Laldanmawia Ralte is proving to be one of the best Indian players in the I-League this season, as he’s churning out solid performances consistently for East Bengal. Danmawia has been great in their away fixtures as well and played superbly on the right-hand side against Churchill Brothers last week.
His crossing always seemed dangerous and he made an amazing assist when he fed a venomous ball for Jobby Justin to head home. The new-signing seems to have great chemistry with Katsumi Yusa and Mahmoud Al-Amna and has been looking threatening every time he steps out for his new club.
Center-Attack Midfield: Brandon Fernandes (FC Goa)
FC Goa may be riding on the waves of Ferran Corominas and Manuel Lanzarote as of late, but a player which has emerged as one of the finds of the season has been Brandon Fernandes. The 23-year-old has established himself as a key man to their attack and played a decisive part in their 2-1 win over Jamshedpur FC last week, terrorizing their defense.
Brandon earned the penalty for Goa in the first half, before providing a stunning assist for Lanzarote’s second. He was absolutely amazing as he created 3 more chances, while his passing accuracy was at an impressive 76% and his performance proved how he’s a contender for Emerging Player of the Season.
Left-Wing: Lalrinzuala Chhangte (Delhi Dynamos)
Chhangte’s solo goal Vs Bengaluru FC
Delhi Dynamos got a much-needed win in upsetting Bengaluru FC in the weekend and were influenced by another terrific performance from Lalrinzuala Chhangte. The youngster seemed to have lost his steam after a brilliant start to the season, but regained some of the form against Bengaluru.
He looked to be dangerous throughout the game as an inverted winger and scored a clever goal to give Delhi the lead in the 71st minute. Chhangte was a menace to Bengaluru’s defense throughout the game, creating two chances and having three more shots on target as he won the “Hero of the Match” award for a sensational display to shock BFC.
Striker: Balwant Singh (Mumbai City FC)
It was a rather quiet week for Indian strikers in both the ISL and the I-League, but Balwant Singh was arguably the one who made the most impact last week. While he was at the losing end of Mumbai City’s defeat to Kerala Blasters, Balwant did threaten the Kerala defense and did a lot to spark something in Mumbai’s attack.