The duo was truly phenomenal in their respective teams title-winning campaigns.

Hugo Boumous Vs Joseba Beitia: It was a gruelling Indian football season which came to an end after the All India Football Federation (AIFF) decided to call off the remaining I-League matches and declared Mohun Bagan as winners by the virtue of their insurmountable lead. While the Green and Maroons won the I-League, FC Goa became the first team to win the League Winners’ Shield by topping the league phase.

In both their respective successful league campaigns the main driving force was their midfielders. For FC Goa, it was the fantastic French-Moroccan midfielder Hugo Boumous, who had a breakthrough year in the ISL this season. While for the Mariners it was their beloved ‘Green Octopus’ Joseba Beitia, who orchestrated the build-ups and worked tireless as the focal point of the side.

But, which one of the two is better?

We at Khel Now present to you a statistical, analytical comparison between the two metronomes from this season, discussing their style of play and preferred system.

Hugo Boumous

Hugo Boumous ISL 2019-20 statistics
Hugo Boumous Vs Joseba Beitia: Hugo Boumous ISL 2019-20 statistics

FC Goa completed another successful season with AFC Champions League qualification, as they finished at the top of the table in the league phase. But, the Gaurs failed to double the delight in the playoffs, losing to Chennaiyin FC in the semis. It was another superb campaign for Spanish star Ferran Corominas who capped it with 14 goals.

However, this season another foreign recruit became the hero, as star midfielder Hugo Boumous played a vital role in taking the Goan side to the top of the league. He contributed an important 11 goals and 10 assists. As a result, the 24-year-old was also declared the ‘Hero of the Season’ for his outstanding contribution. This was also his all-time best statistical performance in his senior career.

There was no shortage of spirit in the Goa camp, as the Rennes-born striker gelled well with Corominas in attack, where the duo outclassed opponents on many occasions. He was also adjudged the ‘Hero of the Month’ in February for his stellar performances, as he netted five times and delivered the same number of assists in just three appearances. 

With a goal conversion rate of 31%, average of 0.73 goals per match and a good 69% passing accuracy, Hugo Boumous was one of the best among the top five scorers of the Indian Super League, which included Kerala Blasters’ Bartholomew Ogbeche, Chennaiyin’s Nerijus Valskis, ATK’s Roy Krishna and Goa’s own Corominas.

The midfielder, who was signed by the Gaurs in the winter of the 2017-18 campaign, scored two goals and as many assists in his debut season. Moreover, he showcased his skills in the following season with three goals and five assists. But, it was a completely different ‘Boumous when he returned to Goa this season.

After failing to score in the opening two matches against Chennaiyin and Bengaluru, he netted his first goal against NorthEast United. He again found the net in the next match against Mumbai City. Hugo Boumous went on to score against Kerala and Mumbai in both games, while he also succeeded in scoring against Bengaluru and Chennaiyin in the reverse fixtures and recorded a brace against Hyderabad FC.

Speaking of calibre, he had his best season with the Gaurs as he delivered more compared to his last two campaigns, while also doubling the number of assists. Now, the question is how did he transform into a ‘game-changer?’ The answer is the preference of him over Edu Bedia.

During his time, Bedia delivered the kind of service to the forwards, where the forwards in turn had to make most of the chances. However, in Boumous case, the midfielder can play in both roles depending on the situation. He can create his own chances and also clinically net the ball home. That was why Spanish tactician Sergio Lobera chose Boumous over Bedia and it worked wonders.

Moreover, one of his best qualities is to overlap his opponents with pin-point one-two passing, putting the opposing defender in a dilemma and forcing him to give space in the final third to create or score goals. He is also good at dribbling past his opponents at will.

Yet, Hugo Boumous needs to improve his defensive work as he often commits unnecessary fouls, especially in avoidable areas. But, considering his role in the team it can be overlooked and he can be considered as one of the best talents in the league.

Joseba Beitia

Joseba Beitia I-League 2019-20 statistics
Hugo Boumous Vs Joseba Beitia: Joseba Beitia’s statistics in I-League 2019-20 season

While Goa topped the league phase of the Indian Super League, Mohun Bagan also achieved a similar feat in the I-League and won the title with four games to spare. 

The I-League was concluded with 28 fixtures left to play due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the Green and Maroons won the title by virtue of having an insurmountable lead over other clubs. One of the prime driving forces of the Mariners’ success was Spanish midfielder Joseba Beitia. 

Beitia joined the club at the start of the season and proved his mettle right from the getgo. The former Real Sociedad academy graduate impressed everyone with his silky turns and exceptional dribbling ability, coupled with his versatility to play in several positions. He also displayed his expertise from dead-ball situations. 

The 29-year-old who is originally an attacking midfielder played as a No. 8 alongside Sheikh Sahil in a 4-4-2 formation. However, his four goals and 10 assists from 16 matches prove his attacking impetus. Yet, Beitia’s overall contribution is far more than goals and assists. It is mainly his involvement in the build-up and his ability to create space in the final third that makes him a player to watch in midfield.

Apart from his attacking contributions, he has notched up 50 ball recoveries which mark his defensive actions as well. Beitia’s wide range of passing made him a vital cog in Kibu Vicuna’s team. He made 1098 total passes with a success rate of 82%. He also managed 60 key passes with an impressive 48% success rate. 

The 29-year-old was rewarded for his consistent performances in the I-League, as he won the Player of the Month in January. His match-winning performance in the Kolkata Derby against eternal rivals East Bengal also won him the Man of the Match.  

His tendency to open up space with his silky turns and his unique ability to resist pressure from the opponent makes him an excellent midfielder. 

Although, he has all the qualities of a proper central attacking midfielder, he can also put in a shift in a deeper role in midfield. However, his reluctance to take shots from long range might be his only weak point, as it could increase his goal ratio and make him more lethal as a No. 10. 

Conclusion

Hugo Boumous was more of a goalscoring threat for FC Goa and the Gaurs were heavily dependent on him throughout the season while Joseba Beitia has shown different shades as a midfielder. With his versatility, the Spaniard did not have experienced players like Ahmed Jahouh and Lenny Rodrigues for support and so his overall output wasn’t as great as that of Hugo Boumous. 

This article has been co-authored by Ravish Narvekar and Atrayo Bhattacharya.

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