These players were the best performers in their respective positions in the past matches.

The heat turned on this week in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 and how! Hyderabad FC brushed aside Odisha FC 6-1 in one of the finest displays from Manolo Marquez’s team. Fans also witnessed a stunning goal from Liston Colaco, a knuckleball that was hit with unbelievable technique and power. The ball swerved and dipped past Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem, as the custodian ended up being a mute spectator to genius.

There has been some movement on the points table and the Nizams now sit second, one point behind Mumbai City FC. The leaders were held to an entertaining 3-3 draw by Khalid Jamil’s NorthEast United, with Deshorn Brown getting the season’s second hat-trick. Let’s go right into ISL 2021-22 Team of the Gameweek 9:

Goalkeeper: Laxmikant Kattimani (Hyderabad FC)

Laxmikant Kattimani
Kattimani was in good form against Odisha FC (Courtesy: ISL Media)

While the scoreline might suggest a one-sided match, the 6-1 against Odisha also involved some brilliant goalkeeping from Hyderabad and the credit goes to their custodian Kattimani; so much so that he was the best player involved on the defensive side of the game across both sides. Five saves, four of them from inside the box, tell you why he is invaluable to the Nizams.

Right-Back: Naorem Roshan Singh (Bengaluru FC)

The new kid on the block has made his presence felt a few times already this season and re-wrote the same story against Chennaiyin FC in the high-octane 4-2 victory.

Roshan, a tireless worker, put in a massive shift and was always on the run, contributing well in both halves of the pitch. One of his mistakes led to a goal, but he made amends with several crucial passes in the final third, one of them ending in the back of the net.

Centre-Back: Peter Hartley (Jamshedpur FC)

Peter Hartley
Hartley has marshalled the backline with sheer leadership quality (Courtesy: ISL Media)

Few men in the Indian Super League wear the captain’s armband like Peter Hartley. The British defender marshalled his defence well against Kerala Blasters, winning all six ground duels and five aerial ones with his talismanic presence.

The 1-1 draw, brought about by Hartley’s contribution, will be a major blow to Kerala Blasters, who were riding on some supreme form until they ran into this roadblock.

Centre-Back: Chinglensana Singh (Hyderabad FC)

Easily India’s most improved centre-back in the last two years, Sanna is back on the ISL 2021-22 Team of the Week. His diagonal pings more often than not find the forward-bombing Akash Mishra or Aniket Jadhav and his calm, assuring presence and positioning help the team in keeping their gates closed.

Sana circulated the ball well to his midfielders and forwards, earning a passing accuracy of 84%. He had the best view in the hall, as his teammates plundered in five goals – the sixth was an own-goal.

Left-Back: Jessel Carneiro (Kerala Blasters)

Jessel Carneiro
Carneiro has been the best player in Kerala Blasters’ defence (Courtesy: ISL Media)

If Peter Hartley did a great job in keeping the burgeoning Kerala Blasters away from goal, Carneiro ensured that his side at least took one point home. For achieving that, he had to keep the ominously-talented Greg Stewart in check.

While the Scottish forward found the net with a delicious free-kick, he was kept at bay throughout the rest of the game by a defence well spearheaded by captain Carneiro.

Central Midfielder: Joao Victor (Hyderabad FC)

Assured on the ball and relentless off it, this man is a machine that starts on the whistle and stops on it. Victor didn’t just score from the spot against Odisha FC; he ran the midfield show in sync with Edu Garcia, finding space in areas where there wasn’t any.

He was a constant thorn for Odisha FC whenever they tried to create something centrally and his two key passes helped his attackers put the ball in the back of the net.

ISL 2021-22 Team of Gameweek 9
ISL 2021-22 Team of Gameweek 9

Central Midfielder: Sahal Abdul Samad (Kerala Blasters)

Would it be an exaggeration? I’d still take the risk. Sahal’s approach to the box this season reminds me of Adam Lallana from 2016-17 when he was at Liverpool, always being present at the right place at the right time.

He wasn’t too physical and had a soft cushiony touch, similar to Sahal’s. The “Indian Ozil” has been in fine form in ISL 2021-22, and has helped his club with unprecedented consistency in front of goal.

Right Winger: Bipin Singh (Mumbai City)

It could be too early to say this, but Bipin has been showing signs and I’m going to say it – Bipin Singh is back! After a subdued start to the season, he came into his own against NorthEast United, getting a clean strike past the goalkeeper.

He also made a well-weighted low cross into the box for Igor Angulo to get his name on the scoresheet. Stay tuned for more fireworks from this man!

Central Attacking Midfielder: Greg Stewart (Jamshedpur FC)

Greg Stewart
Stewart scored perhaps the best goal in ISL history against Kerala Blasters (Courtesy: ISL Media)

If you haven’t watched his elliptical free-kick that beat Prabhusukhan Gill all ends up, you’re missing out on one of the best goals in the history of the Indian Super League. His left foot reminds me of a certain Stiven Mendoza and if he continues his mojo, Jamshedpur FC could be regularly finding the back of the net. Apart from his goalscoring, Stewart adds a lot of creativity for his strikers and is a delight to watch.

Left Winger: Liston Colaco (ATK Mohun Bagan)

Did we say ‘best goals in the history of the Indian Super League before?’ Add him to that list as well. What a sweet, sweet strike. 16 angles of recordings, all of them worth watching and going gaga over.

He had an average game otherwise as his team took home three points, but his strike in the 23rd minute was a worldie. He has been the best Indian player in ISL 2021-22 and that goal only underlines the fact further.

Centre Forward: Deshorn Brown (NorthEast United)

Deshorn Brown
Brown netted the second hat-trick of ISL 2021-22 (Courtesy: ISL Media)

Looking for a noisy comeback? Say no further. Deshorn Brown, after missing three matches due to injury, came back into the starting XI and scored the first, second last and last goal against Mumbai City in a 3-3 draw, effectively earning a point for his team against the holders.

Deshorn’s close control was immaculate and his stout physicality is always a challenge for most defenders. The striker’s work-rate, too, was a good lesson for all young strikers out there.

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