In a week that saw the outset of the Juan Ferrando era at ATK Mohun Bagan and Derrick Pereira era at FC Goa, three draws were played out in ISL 2021-22. Kerala Blasters continued their fine form and replicated the scoreline with which they beat Mumbai City against Chennaiyin FC in the Southern Derby. ATK Mohun Bagan came back from behind to beat NorthEast United 3-2 in a thrilling encounter.
The ISL table hasn’t been disturbed a lot, with Mumbai continuing their position at the top of the table. Kerala Blasters, riding on their form, are in the top four and haven’t lost a game in their last five encounters. Is this the year? We’ll have to wait and watch. For now, let’s take a look at the ISL Team of the Week:
Goalkeeper: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (Bengaluru FC)
Normal service has resumed. The Indian No. 1 finally got his first clean-sheet of the season, ensuring the club went home with at least a point.
In total, the talisman made five crucial saves, four of them from inside the box. His 85% passing rate shows he helped his teammates when they were pressed deep in their own half.
Right-Back: Laldinliana Renthlei (Jamshedpur FC)
Inarguably the best Jamshedpur FC defender on the pitch against Bengaluru FC, Laldinliana was immense on the right flank. Keeping the very pacy Udanta Singh quiet is no mean feat for any defender, but the 23-year-old was composed and matched the winger run-to-run. He won all three ground duels he participated in and also played some crucial forward balls.
Centre-Back: Ivan Gonzalez (FC Goa)
Ever since his arrival to the Goan club, Ivan has been one of their most reliable assets. The Spaniard came up with the goods once again in the encounter against Odisha FC, scoring from close range and ensuring Derrick Pereira’s journey as an ISL head coach doesn’t begin with a defeat. He was the best player on the pitch on the evening, delivering another assured defensive performance as well.
Centre-Back: Ruivah Hormipam (Kerala Blasters)
Will he be the find of the ISL 2021-22 season? We’ll have to wait. For now, Hormipan is making all the right noises. After making his debut against Mumbai City FC and keeping a clean-sheet, Horminan alongwith and his partner Marko Leskovic continued in the same vein, keeping the door closed against Chennaiyin. It was a herculean effort, as the Manipuri defender made 11 clearances and was rigid in the air as well.
Left-Back: Hira Mondal (SC East Bengal)
Mondal could well be on track to challenge Hormipan to the throne of ‘Find of the Season.’ Five clearances, three tackles and one interception ensured that East Bengal gained yet another point to earn their fourth draw of the season. Going forward, the club will need to find more goals and Mondal will need to swing in crosses from the left side of the pitch.
Central Midfielder: Sahal Abdul Samad (Kerala Blasters)
Is this the season for Sahal to breakout and make a telling contribution to his side? He’s already scored three times and has formed a good partnership with Adrian Luna and Jorge Pereyra Diaz.
Ever so composed on the ball, Sahal is a good outlet to have and with the passing range he possesses, it is a massive utility for any coach.
Central Midfielder: Puitea (Kerala Blasters)
You’ve to be in a league of your own to be the best central midfielder on the pitch when you’re playing against the likes of Vladimir Koman and Anirudh Thapa. Puitea, against Chenniayin FC, was just that and a little more.
He assisted for the first goal that opened the floodgates for Kerala Blasters and his successful passing rate of 88% ensured Kerala seldom lost possession in the middle of the park. He created another big chance and directed all his long balls accurately.
Right Midfielder: VP Suhair (NorthEast United)
One of the most hardworking players in India at the moment, VP Suhair has been the blue-eyed boy of NEUFC fans for some time now. Against ATK Mohun Bagan, he opened the scoring with a sweet, low header past Amrinder Singh.
He created another chance in the second half, but it was well covered by Singh. Suhair continued his workhorse-like displays and might be knocking on the national team door soon after ISL 2021-22.
Central Attacking Midfielder: Adrian Luna (Kerala Blasters)
One to always remain busy, Luna was the best player on the pitch in the game against Chennaiyin FC. He finally opened his account for the Blasters, scoring the final goal in the 80th minute.
The three key passes he threaded in the game were difficult to defend for the usually reliable Chennaiyin defence, and that speaks massively about the No. 10’s ability on the ball.
Left Midfielder: Liston Colaco (ATK Mohun Bagan)
He can dribble, he can swerve and now we know he can head it too. Colaco got his fourth goal of this 2021-22 edition of the ISL with a well-placed header to make the score 1-1 for his team.
Roy Krishna found the ball in space on the right wing and floated in a delivery that invited connection. The Goan cushioned it in the back of the net, beating the goalkeeper all ends up.
Centre Forward: Greg Stewart (Jamshedpur FC)
The Scottish striker did everything right in his outing against Bengaluru FC, but met behemoth Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who stood between him and the deserved goal like a wall.
He did not just take three well-aimed shots on the goal, but also created four opportunities for his fellow forwards. Nearly all his dribble attempts were successful and if not for GSS, Stewart would’ve added to his list of goals.