These players were exceptional for their respective teams in the previous gameweek.
The Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 is heating up and how! After an uncharacteristic dip in form of perennial favourites, teams such as Hyderabad FC and Kerala Blasters are turning on the heat. Both teams from South India currently sit at the top of the table, with the Blasters having one game in hand. Kerala Blasters are still in isolation and are yet to return to the training pitch.
After showing some hope to their fans in Mario Rivera’s first outing with a win, East Bengal were mauled 4-0 by a rampant Hyderabad FC side, with the Nizams showing brilliant attacking intent. NorthEast United, too, had a forgettable week, losing 2-0 and 2-1 to Odisha FC and Chennaiyin FC respectively.
Note: Only matches between Jan 18 and Jan 24 are taken into account
Let’s take a look at Khel Now’s Team of the Week.
Goalkeeper: Laxmikant Kattimani (Hyderabad FC)
The 4-0 scoreline might suggest that Hyderabad FC had a fairly easy outing against SC East Bengal, but Laxmikant Kattimani deserves to be on this list for his heroic goalkeeping.
After making a crucial save from nearly six yards in the 39th minute, the former FC Goa goalkeeper saved a penalty, arguably an incorrect decision, late into the game.
Right Back: Naorem Roshan Singh (Bengaluru FC)
At just 22, Naorem Roshan Singh has already put in some memorable crosses into the box and done some fine defending in his own half. However, against FC Goa, he was facing a different beast in Jorge Ortiz.
Roshan thwarted one of the best close controllers in the league at the moment and won majority of their ground duels. He also made a key pass, which wasn’t converted by the Bengaluru FC attack.
Centre-Back: Tiri (ATK Mohun Bagan)
Returning to the pitch after a COVID-induced break, ATK Mohun Bagan put in a solid defensive performance, holding Odisha FC to a goalless draw in the ISL 2021-22 encounter. In the one point they took home, Spanish defender Tiri played a crucial role.
He made three clearances and blocked two shots. He also made six interceptions, two tackles and also won almost all duels he participated in. Best defender on the evening? By a mile!
Centre-Back: Victor Mongil (Odisha FC)
Odisha FC played two matches this gameweek, winning one against NorthEast United and drawing with ATK Mohun Bagan in the other.
In both ISL 2021-22 outings, captain Victor Mongil led from the front. The No. 3 ensured that the backdoor was shut. He was particularly good against ATK Mohun Bagan, blocking seven shots and making a clearance off the line.
Left Back: Subhasish Bose (ATK Mohun Bagan)
A constant presence on the left side of the pitch for ATK Mohun Bagan, Bose was crucial in holding Odisha FC to a goalless draw.
The former Mumbai City player had an 85% passing accuracy. He showed much he contributed in his team’s control on the pitch. He also played a number of accurate long balls, helping his team create some chances.
Central Midfielder: Isaac Vanmalsawma (Odisha FC)
Until this season, it looked like Isaac’s career was heading nowhere. The former Shillong Lajong set-piece specialist has now settled well in the Odisha FC midfield, taking over the role of Vinit Rai, since his departure.
Isaac made two key passes against ATK Mohun Bagan and six tackles against NorthEast United, showing how his game has all the qualities needed for a central midfielder.
Central Midfielder: Souvik Chakrabarti (Hyderabad FC)
A well-travelled man, Souvik is one of the most versatile utility players in Indian football. The midfielder is finally getting a run of games under his belt at Hyderabad FC and in the absence of Edu Garcia, also takes set-pieces. He took the corner that led to the first goal for the Nizams, opening the floodgates against East Bengal.
Right Winger: Aniket Jadhav (Hyderabad FC)
Saying Aniket Jadhav had a good game against East Bengal would be an understatement. Every time the former Jamshedpur FC forward got the ball, he did something productive.
Against his former captain Amarjit Singh Kiyam from the FIFA U-17 World Cup, Jadhav created havoc down the left side. He got on the scoresheet with a delicious shot in the added minutes of the first half. If he continues this form, India will have another strong option down the left wing soon.
Attacking Central Midfielder: Sunil Chhetri (Bengaluru FC)
He’s back and in style. In the game against FC Goa, Chhetri looked to be playing in a different role. However, in the 61st minute, Prince Ibara worked hard to win the ball against Saviour Gama and floated in a delicious cross. Chhetri planted the ball behind Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem. Dheeraj, had until then looked to be in great form, with a thunderous header.
The BFC talisman is now the joint-highest goalscorer in the history of the ISL. He hit the post in the 92nd minute and can be expected to go on top soon.
Left Winger: Aridai Cabrera (Odisha FC)
Arguably the best player on the pitch as Odisha FC defeated NEUFC 2-0, Aridai has a bag full of tricks in his repertoire and showcased them well against the Highlanders.
In the 58 minutes he was on the pitch, the Spaniard scored once and created another for Daniel Lalhlimpuia with a delightful cross. Every time he took on a defender, he dribbled past effortlessly. On his day, Aridai is a magician. He will just need to do it consistently.
Striker: Bartholomew Ogbeche (Hyderabad FC)
Until the game against East Bengal, it still looked possible to match Ogbeche on the list of goalscorers, but now he’s taken a +4 lead over Igor Angulo. He’s now scored 12 times in 11 games and given the supply line Manolo Marquez has prepared for him, The striker looks set for more.
The No. 20 is just one goal behind Sunil Chhetri, and might take over the Indian captain in no time. Against East Bengal, the No. 20 scored a hat-trick in dominating style.