The gameweek saw the final playoffs spots sealed as the pretenders fell by the wayside and the cream rose to the top.
Gameweek 17 ended with the confirmation of the playoffs spots, as Mumbai City FC and NorthEast United joined Bengaluru FC and FC Goa in the final four. Bengaluru got back to winning ways by beating Goa, stopping the Goan side’s run of clean sheets in the process. Resurgent FC Pune City succumbed to Delhi at home, while NorthEast had to work hard to come away with a point against the Stallions.
Here are the players who made it to our Team of the Week:
Goalkeeper: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (Bengaluru FC)
It was redemption for the Indian international at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium against Goa. After a horrific outing against Delhi when two of his mistakes led to Bengaluru’s eventual loss, the former Stabaek shot-stopper put up a decisive performance against the Gaurs. Gurpreet pulled off five saves and was also constantly on alert.
He dealt with the dangerous crosses of the Gaurs catching seven of them and punching out. It was largely due to his active hands that Bengaluru managed to trump Goa despite being down to 10-men for the entirety of the second half.
Right-Back: Souvik Chakrabarti (Mumbai City FC)
With playoffs chances for Mumbai hanging in the balance, Souvik Chakrabarti stepped up. The former Mohun Bagan player put in a stellar performance against ATK and helped in cementing Mumbai City’s playoffs spot. Souvik was constantly alert during the match, preventing the ATK wingers form creating problems.
The full-back made 11 clearances and also had three game-changing tackles during his stint. He had a passing accuracy of 76% and also made three vital interceptions.
Indian Super League Team of the Week 17
Centre-Back: Augustin Fernandes (Jamshedpur FC)
The Jamshedpur center-back was solid defensively during the game against Chennaiyin. He let nothing past him and put in a resilient performance that frustrated the Marina Machans’ attack.
The former Salgaocar star distributed the ball well, finishing the match with 88% accurate passes. He also made 11 clearances.
Centre-Back: Rahul Bheke (Bengaluru FC)
Rahul Bheke’s versatility has been something to behold. The Mumbai-born lad has played as a right-back, left-back and center-back for Bengaluru this season and when Albert Serran was suspended, he seamlessly slotted in with Juanan.
Bheke was efficient in stopping attacks, as he led the defense together against Goa’s offensive onslaught. His resilience was vital for the Blues, as they held on despite being down to 10 men for one whole half of the match. He finished the game with a passing accuracy of 79%, but defensively he was unstoppable and made four tackles and three crucial interceptions to add to his three blocked shots.
Left-back: Tondonba Singh (Chennaiyin FC)
The Chennaiyin left-back was impressive against the Men of Steel and played an integral part as his team got a rare clean-sheet at home. The former NEROCA man was energetic during the whole game, preventing the Jamshedpur wingers from creating any sort of opportunities for Farukh Choudhary and Sergio Cidoncha.
Central Midfielder: Vinit Rai (Delhi Dynamos)
Playing in front of the defence, the 21-year-old defensive midfielder had a solid outing. His masterclass earned him the Hero of the Match honour. He efficiently kept the Pune midfield’s creative force in check, forcing turnovers and bad passes.
His distribution was also exemplary and the former Kerala Blasters man finished with a passing accuracy of 82%. He also had two interceptions and made two tackles during the game.
Central Midfielder: Rowlin Borges (NorthEast United FC)
The multi-talented midfielder is a key part of Eelco Schattorie’s system which has allowed NorthEast to reap substantial benefits and he has flourished in his role. His importance to the team was evident in the Highlanders’ hard-fought draw against Pune City.
The Goan born lad exerted his influence on both sides of the pitch. He controlled the game form the middle of the park and finished with an 83% passing accuracy. He also made four crucial interceptions. Borges opened the scoring for the Highlanders, pouncing on a spill from Kamaljit Singh. Rowlin’s impressive performance earned him the Hero of the Match honour.
Central Midfielder: Anirudh Thapa (Chennaiyin FC)
Playing alongside Raphael Augusto in midfield, Anirudh Thapa was efficient and solid. The youngster was constantly keeping the Jamshedpur midfield on their toes and taking no prisoners. He should have gotten an assist for his performance, but Jeje Lalpekhlua could only place his shot straight at the keeper after the midfielder’s ball put him through on goal.
The Chennaiyin star won the Hero of the Match award for his performance in the goalless draw. He made four tackles during the course of the match and also blocked three shots from the Men of Steel.
Right Winger: Kumam Udanta Singh (Bengaluru FC)
It requires a different level of grit to go up against a highly explosive and in-form Goan side with one man down and come away with three points and that too by scoring three goals. Bengaluru showcased great character and Udanta Singh was a prime example of the “never say die” attitude of the Blues.
The winger was efficient and energetic, constantly running up and down during the 89 minutes he was on the field. His tireless effort was a key factor in pulling Bengaluru up after going a man down towards the end of the first half. He was rewarded with a goal for his efforts, the youngster finding himself one-on-one with the opposition keeper after Dimas Delgado sent him through.
Striker: Daniel Lalhimpuia (Delhi Dynamos)
The 21-year-old has been a revolution for the capital side this season. The forward has shown flashes of brilliance for Josep Gombau’s men and his presence proved crucial, as Delhi got the better of Pune City away from home. The striker’s predatory instincts were on display when he was in the right place at the right time to tuck in after Kamaljit parried Ulises Davila’s shot.
Daniel’s high energy was a constant problem for the three-man defense of the Stallions and he managed to involve himself in the game, consistently linking up with the midfield.
Left Winger: Romeo Fernandes (Delhi Dynamos)
Romeo was at his best against the Stallions. The Goa-born winger showcased his true potential with a brilliant performance against a resurgent Pune City. His quickness and skill proved to be too good for the opposition back four to deal with. His efforts got justly rewarded when his brilliant cross found Lallianzuala Chhangte unmarked in the box and the winger tucked it in with ease.
Romeo then went on to score his first goal of the campaign, with a looping shot over Kamaljit, which allowed Delhi to retake the lead and eventually win the game. He also exerted his presence defensively, making six crucial tackles.