We pick the best playing XI from matches played from November 24 (Wedenesday) until November 27 (Saturday).
The second gameweek of the ISL 2021/22 produced three 3-1 victories, with two major upsets. It started off with Odisha FC defeating Bengaluru FC, continued with Jamshedpur FC defeating FC Goa and finished with Hyderabad FC trouncing Mumbai City FC – all with identical scorelines.
NorthEast United and Kerala Blasters played out a goalless but entertaining game and ATK Mohun Bagan continued their dominance over East Bengal with a 3-0 win. The number of goals dropped from 18 to 15 week-on-week, saw a lot of drama, and a new array of tactics from head coaches across the roster. Let’s take a look at the Team of the Week:
Goalkeeper- Kamaljit Singh (Odisha FC)
Playing against one of the heavyweights of Indian football in Bengaluru FC, Odisha FC came out with a plan and implemented it to the T.
Helping them with the implementation was the man under their bar, Kamaljit Singh. He made three saves, all from inside the box, ensuring the score remained in favour of Kiko Raminez’s men after the final whistle in the ISL 2021/22 clash.
Right-Back- Pritam Kotal (ATK Mohun Bagan)
The way Pritam Kotal has matured as a player under Antonio Lopez Habas is exemplary. He fits in effortlessly in any system the Spaniard deploys – from three at the back to four at the back.
What makes Kotal even more indispensable is his ability to play both as a centre-back and right-back. Against arch-rivals East Bengal, the ATK Mohun Bagan captain put in another characteristic shift and earned a cool assist.
Centre-Back- Deepak Tangri (ATK Mohun Bagan)
Alongside his captain, Tangri played brilliantly, shielding his goal with a dominant presence. He made three interceptions, blocked two shots, made three clean tackles and even had two key passes from deep in their ISL 2021/22 clash vs SC East Bengal.
With Deepak in the ranks, ATKMB have a budding talent who can hold his own and play in both the defence and defensive midfield role.
Centre-Back- Hector Rodas (Odisha FC)
Helping his goalkeeper Kamaljit in keeping Bengaluru FC at bay was centre-back and new signing Hector Rodas. The Spaniard was the best defender on the pitch and made as many as eight clearances, one of them off the goal-line.
Rodas’ presence has brought a lot of calm to the Odisha backline and his dominating presence might give a hard time to opposition attackers.
Left-Back- Jessel Carneiro (Kerala Blasters)
The Kerala Blasters captain led his defence from the front to ensure his side shared the spoils with the Highlanders in the ISL 2021/22 clash. He won all the ground and aerial duels he participated in, repaying the faith Ivan Vukomanović has posed in him.
Carneiro also made one key interception and three clearances, ensuring the scoreline remained undisturbed.
Central Midfielder- Joao Victor (Hyderabad FC)
This man is gradually becoming one of the clutch players of the Indian Super League. Against champions Mumbai City FC, Joao Victor was in a league of his own.
He controlled the midfield and the entire tempo of the game. He’s at the heart of everything that Hyderabad do on the pitch and is an absolute powerhouse performer. Watch out for him as the season progresses.
Defensive Midfielder- Vinit Rai (Odisha FC)
Odisha FC’s one of the longest-serving lieutenants, Rai has always been a clean passer of the ball. He’s physically robust, understands the importance of positioning well and ha excelled in the No. 6 role alongside Paulinho Dias.
Currently, he is back in the role, supporting the likes of Javi Hernandez and Nandhakumar Sekar with the ball in the right spaces. The three interceptions he made against Bengaluru FC definitely helped his side notch up the 3-1 scoreline.
Right Winger- Manvir Singh (ATK Mohun Bagan)
It seems versatility and ATK Mohun Bagan are slowly looking like two sides of the same coin. From Tangri to Kotal to Manvir, Habas has been able to carve a batch of players who are willing to give their all for the side, in any role assigned to them.
Manvir has, in recent times, been playing as a wing-back, as a right winger, a right forward and a proper striker for the Green-and-Maroons. A goal and a brilliant game later, his team came home with three points against SC East Bengal in the ISL 2021/22 clash.
Central Attacking Midfielder – Javi Hernandez (Odisha FC)
With champion players, comes the attitude of champions. By the looks of it, Hernandez’s attitude and desire to win has rubbed onto the players at Odisha.
The new signing had one of his finest outings in the ISL 2021/22 against Bengaluru FC, blazing a 35-yard scorcher and a smart free-kick past Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. Needless to say, he was a handful for the Bengaluru defence. Another man to watch out for!
Left Winger- Yasir Mohammad (Hyderabad FC)
Yasir was played out of position by Manolo Marquez in his outing against Mumbai City. However, he burnt a lot of grass, following his defensive duties to the hilt.
Playing close to his captain Victor, Yasir made sure he was always available for a pass and broke down Mumbai’s rhythm on several occasions. To put it in brief, he played an instrumental role in his team’s 3-1 victory against the Islanders in ISL 2021/22 gameweek 2.
Striker- Nerijus Valskis (Jamshedpur FC)
In the 44th minute of the game against FC Goa, the commentator said about a move – “You would see the ball bulging the back of the net, but Valskis is not in that kind of form…” It took the Lithuanian striker only a few minutes to prove the commentator wrong.
He added another to his tally and was unlucky to have missed the hat-trick. Is he back to his roaring form? It is too early to say. However, it doesn’t sound like a happy bellwether for opposition defences!