Rowllin Borges makes the cut for the second time in a row after his dominant performances in the Islanders’ midfield.

One month into 2021 and things have started to heat up in the Indian Super League (ISL). Mumbai City FC reign supreme at the top of the table and despite a few hiccups, they look by far the most consistent side in the league this season.

ATK Mohun Bagan are fighting hard to keep up, while the likes of Hyderabad FC and NorthEast United both making big moves for their playoffs dreams. The players spearheading the charge for these teams all put in some commendable performances last month, helping win games on their own. So, let’s look at the Indian Super League Team of the Month for January.

Goalkeeper: Debjit Majumder (SC East Bengal)

As SC East Bengal seemingly turned a corner into the new year, Debjit Majumder played a big role over helping them win massive points last month. He kept two clean sheets against Bengaluru FC and Chennaiyin FC, including five crucial saves in a terrific performance against the Blues.

Debjit’s excellent shot-stopping ability and reflexes often helped bail out the Red & Gold Brigade and save them from despair. He only conceded five goals from seven games, keeping one of the best defensive records for any team in the league and inspiring his side to get out of the bottom of the league table.

Right-Back: Asish Rai (Hyderabad FC)

Hyderabad FC enjoyed an unbeaten month in the ISL last time around and even kept three clean-sheets from their seven games last month. Asish Rai was among their star performers at the back as well as going forward. Indeed, not only was the young defender a proactive figure defensively, making key interceptions and clearances each game, he added that extra attacking threat with his persistent crosses.

He even picked up an assist in the Nizams’ 4-2 win over NorthEast United, with Rai’s impressive performances last month further raising his stock in Indian football.

Centre-Back: Mourtada Fall (Mumbai City FC)

WATCH: Mourtada Fall opened the scoring for Mumbai City FC in their 3-1 win over Bengaluru FC in January

After a slightly shaky start to the season, Mourtada Fall had his best month for Mumbai City FC in January. He scored two goals in key wins over SC East Bengal and Bengaluru FC, as well as coming up with big performances as his side earned four clean-sheets from seven games.

The towering defender’s dominant personality at the back and during set-pieces helped the Islanders dominate opposition sides and make big strides in their pursuit to top the league stages of the ISL.

Centre-Back: Tiri (ATK Mohun Bagan)

Continuing his impressive season with ATK Mohun Bagan, Tiri started 2021 in grand fashion with an amazing performance against NorthEast United. Not only did he completely shut down their attackers, but also picked up an assist to power ATKMB to a 2-0 win.

He then helped them keep another clean-sheet against Chennaiyin FC and actually did well in the losing effort to Mumbai City FC. Not only his clutch clearances, but Tiri remains an integral part of the Mariners setup with his brilliant distribution and is playing a vital role as they stayed alive in the race for top spot.

Left-Back: Akash Mishra (Hyderabad FC)

Just like his colleague in defence, Akash Mishra also continued his triumphant rise in the Indian Super League with a series of promising performances for Hyderabad FC in the first month of 2021. Despite facing some prominent challenges against the likes of Sunil Chhetri, Cy Goddard and Luis Machado, the young defender held his own with more encouraging performances at the back.

Be it marching forward to create chances with his impressive crosses or holding his own against wingers with solid defensive work, Mishra helped HFC stay unbeaten in the ISL last month.

Central Midfield: Rowllin Borges (Mumbai City FC)

As Mumbai City continued dominating teams in the ISL, Rowllin Borges continues to be a crucial cog in Sergio Lobera’s system. He’s acted like the Islanders’ midfield engine, running the show for them in nearly all their wins last month.

Borges currently ranks first in terms of successful interceptions (48) and third in completed passes (862) among all ISL players, which itself proves how influential a role he plays in Mumbai City’s midfield. He might not have been involved in goals for the Islanders, but his dedicated work helped Lobera’s side to some big wins to start the New Year.

Central Midfield: Federico Gallego (NorthEast United)

WATCH: Federico Gallego registered a goal and an assist in NorthEast United’s win over ATK Mohun Bagan

As NorthEast United made a revival from a poor start to 2021 in the ISL, their most experienced figure stepped up when they needed him most. Federico Gallego has become the focal point behind NorthEast’s resurgence and is leading from the front in their attack.

Indeed, be it creating chances from open play or set-pieces with his excellent passing range or scoring goals, he’s doing it all. He scored two and assisted three for the Highlanders in January, inspiring wins over ATK Mohun Bagan and Jamshedpur FC.

Right Winger: Liston Colaco (Hyderabad FC)

While he might still be working towards solidifying a role as Hyderabad FC’s regular winger, Liston Colaco further proved his promising ability with a series of compelling performances for them in an unbeaten month in the ISL.

Colaco put in an incredible super-sub display against NorthEast, scoring two impressive goals in the space of five minutes to help his side to a 4-2 win. The youngster continued to make an impact from the bench in other games, with his unpredictable movement and clinical ability in the final third helping Hyderabad to a lot of joy.

Attacking Midfielder: Hugo Boumous (Mumbai City FC)

Hugo Boumous started 2021 in perfect fashion with a Man of the Match display against Kerala Blasters, scoring and assisting in a 2-0 win for his side. He then got the assists in Mumbai City’s big wins over Kolkata giants ATK Mohun Bagan and SC East Bengal, with his first one against the Mariners being a real beauty.

Despite the Islanders’ slight drop in form towards the end of the month, Boumous remained a huge threat in their final third with his clever link-up play and ability to create something special.

Indian Super League
Indian Super League 2020-21: January Team of the Month

Left-Winger: Bipin Singh (Mumbai City FC)

Bipin Singh has proven to be one of the major success stories for Mumbai City this season and continued his influential work for them down the wings as 2021 kick-started. The tricky winger starred in their big win over Bengaluru FC, scoring an impressive goal and running the defensively solid Blues ragged with his terrific work down the wings.

He also starred in the draw against Chennaiyin FC, getting a clever assist and being a thorn at the side of the opponents with his electric personality. More than his goal or assists, Bipin’s unpredictable style has helped bring that spark in Mumbai City’s attack.

Forward: Diego Mauricio (Odisha FC)

Even as bottom-dwellers Odisha FC continued to slump, Diego Mauricio remains the only shining light for them. The Brazilian forward has helped bring that Samba magic to the ISL this season and had a brilliant personal start to 2021. Mauricio starred in Odisha’s stunning 4-2 win over Kerala Blasters, scoring a brace and even picking up an assist.

In their 2-1 loss to Chennaiyin, he scored a superb goal coming off the bench. Moreover, he also assisted Cole Alexander’s strike in the draw against Hyderabad FC, before scoring against Bengaluru FC to earn his side another point. The Brazilian forward is just unplayable right now and is trying his hardest to keep his side afloat, producing some phenomenal performances as a result.

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