These players shone with their individual brilliance and played important roles in their teams’ performance.
The 2021-22 Indian Super League (ISL) season is turning out to be one of the most competitive editions of the competition. With changes in playoffs positions after each game, things seem quite unpredictable. Currently, six teams are still in contention for their precious spots and this week was yet another battle for the same. With a draw and win, Kerala Blasters are just a point short off the top four, as they get closer to reaching their first playoffs in four seasons. Meanwhile, Jamshedpur are now on a four-match winning streak, as they rank second with a game in-hand.
On the other hand, Mumbai City too are also on a run of wins, while ATK Mohun Bagan have dropped four points in their last two. On that note, here’s our ISL 2021-22 team of the week from Gameweek 20.
Goalkeeper: Mohammad Nawaz (Mumbai City)
Mumbai City currently rank fourth in the standings with 31 points. For this feat, they’ve needed consecutive wins, considering the tight playoffs race this time. Mohammad Nawaz has been a key figure in the last two games. Against SC East Bengal, he made five saves to boost his save percentage to 60% and gain his fourth clean-sheet of the season.
Continuing the same form, he replicated it against FC Goa as well. He made three saves, out of which two were diving ones. This included a penalty from Airam Cabrera, which he himself had conceded.
Right Back: Harmanjot Khabra (Kerala Blasters)
Kerala Blasters were involved in two games this week. One of the consistent figures in both was Harmanjot Khabra. In the first game against Hyderabad FC, he was involved in 16 duels, multiple ball deliveries upfront, five recoveries and had a 100% tackling accuracy.
While against Chennaiyin FC, apart from similar defensive duties, it was his crucial ball to Alvaro Vazquez that initiated KBFC’s second goal of the game.
Centre-Back: Ruivah Hormipam (Kerala Blasters)
Ruivah Hormipam has clocked a total of 725 minutes in ISL 2021-22. Alongside Marko Leskovic, he’s formed a solid centre-back pairing under head coach Ivan Vukomanovic. However, a head injury earlier meant his absence for a while. Nonetheless, on Saturday, he returned for Kerala Blasters against Chennaiyin FC for the first time.
Disciplined with his positioning, Hormipam didn’t let the fear of another head injury prevent him from contesting for the aerial duels. Apart from this, he was also involved in seven ground duels and three tackles — thereby essentially continuing his red-hot form this season, despite a gap in between and retaining his position as one of India’s finest centre-back finds this season.
Centre-Back: Mehtab Singh (Mumbai City)
Mehtab Singh has played a total of 780 minutes for Mumbai City in ISL 2021-22. Out of this, the 23-year-old displayed his finest performance against FC Goa this week. He opened the scoring for Des Buckingham’s side in the 35th minute, with a brilliant header into the bottom right corner.
In defence, he vigilantly monitored the likes of Airam Cabrera and Devendra Murgaonkar. He also made two clearances, a tackle and interception.
Left-Back: Sanjeev Stalin (Kerala Blasters)
In KBFC’s second game against Chennaiyin FC, Sanjeev Stalin produced one of his finest attacking displays of the season. The former U-17 international created three chances with his link-up play and crosses.
He throttled upfront succeeding in all of his dribbles, delivering two accurate long balls and three key passes. While defensively, he won seven duels and made five recoveries. He finished the game with an assist from a shot that hit the crossbar.
Central Midfielder: Mobashir Rahman (Jamshedpur FC)
Under Owen Coyle, Mobashir Rahman has clocked 399 minutes in 10 games so far. Since the last two games, he has sealed a regular starting position for JFC. Against NorthEast United, he played five key passes and assisted the first goal with a beautifully floated ball.
Alongside, he had a 100% crossing accuracy and delivered four long balls helping Jamshedpur build attacks from midfield and hence crucial for the win. Overall, he brilliantly played the role of a box-to-box midfielder and went home with two assists.
Central Midfielder: Lalengmawia (Mumbai City)
Another key figure for the Islanders has been Lalengmawia. Against Goa, he played the dual role of midfield conductor and destroyer, as he built attacks and obstructed them with identical precision.
He also completed 73% of his passes and won four out of seven ground duels — continuing his brilliance in midfield and carrying MCFC.
Central Attacking Midfielder: Greg Stewart (Jamshedpur FC)
In all fairness, words can’t describe Greg Stewart’s impact on Jamshedpur FC. At the moment, he has 10 goals for the Men of Steel — making him their obvious top scorer. He’s only behind Hyderabad’s Bartholomew Ogbeche in ISL 2021-22 goalscoring chart.
Stewart is presently on a six-match scoring streak and it was his overall performance, both in attack as well as defence, that defined the victory against NEUFC. In attack, he of course had a goal and assist. Besides that, he also had three shots, a whopping 82% passing accuracy from his 39 passes. He was brilliant in his dribbling, as he setup attacks via his long balls, crosses and three key passes.
Central Attacking Midfielder: Adrian Luna (Kerala Blasters)
Talk about humbling opponents via stunning goals and it’s Adrian Luna who comes to mind first. Last week, the Uruguayan scored twice in the first game against ATK Mohun Bagan and both goals were miraculous curlers.
Similarly, he scored a stunning free-kick in the 90th minute against Chennaiyin FC, while also providing an assist for Jorge Pereyra Diaz’s opener.
Striker: Marcelinho (NorthEast United)
Despite losing to Jamshedpur, NorthEast United didn’t go down without a fight. In just 45 minutes played, Marcelinho was their finest player on the night. The 34-year-old was key to both of NorthEast’s goals. It was his shot that TP Rehenesh spilled, leading to Laldanmawia tapping in the ball.
Subsequently, he also showed glimpses of his best, with an amazing run past the entire Jamshedpur defence to level the scores for the Highlanders. Overall, he had three shots, a 92% passing accuracy and delivered three key passes throughout his tenure.
Striker: Jorge Pereyra Diaz (Kerala Blasters)
Jorge Pereyra Diaz is Kerala Blasters’ top scorer this season with six goals. Most recently, the Chennaiyin clash was the stuff of dreams for the Argentine. He had seven total shots and scored twice in the span of five minutes in the second half.
While the first was a sublime right-footed finish into the centre of the goal, the second one was a fine header. In short, Luna and Diaz were crucial to KBFC’s turnaround in Saturday’s second half.