Das has also received a maiden call-up to the Indian football team.
At the end, football wins. The Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 group stage is over and Jamshedpur FC, Hyderabad FC, ATK Mohun Bagan and Kerala Blasters have made it to the top four. This means that this season the title will be lifted by a new team.
Jamshedpur FC lifted the League Winners’ Shield after another week of sheer dominance. At the outset, they swept past Odisha FC 5-1. The previous day, they defeated formidable opponents ATK Mohun Bagan 1-0. The match of the week was a 4-4 thriller between FC Goa and Kerala Blasters. We had a tough time deciding the ISL 2021-22 Team of the Week. Let’s take a look.
Goalkeeper: Lara Sharma (Bengaluru FC)
This new custodian has been in and out of Khel Now’s ISL 2021-22 TOTW and this week, he had tough competition from TP Rehenesh. Lara came out on top due to his brilliant outing against SC East Bengal, where he made a crucial stop from inside the box, only adding to the four other saves he made to take home a clean-sheet. The youngster had big boots to fill, as always.
Right Back: Laldinliana Renthlei (Jamshedpur FC)
Laldinliana is a silent assassin and is having his best season in a Jamshedpur shirt. Against both Odisha and Bengaluru, the 23-year-old put in inspired displays. He made sure his team’s backline was shut out for opposition attackers.
He was particularly good attacking-wise against Odisha FC, finding Ishan Pandita for the final goal and also creating another glorious opportunity.
Centre-Back: Yaya Banana (Bengaluru FC)
It was one of the best performances by a Bengaluru FC centre-back this season from Yaya. Banana has played just five games so far for the Blues. It speaks volumes about the kind of performance he put in against SC East Bengal, registering a clean-sheet and a cool assist.
The Cameroonian did not just find talisman Sunil Chhetri with a rightly-weighed long ball, but also made six clearances and four tackles.
Centre-Back: Peter Hartley (Jamshedpur FC)
The captain led from the front against ATK Mohun Bagan, one of the strongest attacking outfits in the league. Keeping a clean-sheet against the likes of Roy Krishna, Joni Kauko, Liston Colaco and Manvir Singh is no mean feat. Hartley won almost all duels in which he participated. And the shot he blocked was crucial for Jamshedpur FC’s three points and the ISL 2021-22 Shield triumph.
Left-Back: Aiban Dohling (FC Goa)
In a crazy encounter, Aiban was introduced in the 46th minute at the expense of Sanson Pereira. No one would’ve expected him to be on target, let alone on the scoresheet. The 25-year-old defender had two shots on target and made a crucial interception to ensure his team took home at least a point from the encounter.
Central Midfielder: Apuia (Mumbai City)
Teams have made it a habit to foul Apuia whenever he’s running the show at the heart of the Islanders’ midfield. It was no different against Hyderabad FC.
The metronomic midfielder was brought down five times and yet, his composure and vision helped him to an 85% passing accuracy. He made two interceptions and ensured he did not give away the ball loosely.
Central Midfield:er Souvik Chakrabarti (Hyderabad FC)
If Apuia was at the receiving end of tactical fouls, Souvik was the aggressor. The versatile midfielder was unlucky to not have found his name on the scoresheet against Mumbai City, registering two shots on target.
The former Mumbai player made three interventions and one clearance, making his presence felt in the defensive half of the pitch as well.
Right Winger: Rohit Danu (Hyderabad FC)
The game against holders Mumbai City was probably Rohit Danu’s best outing so far this season. The youngster got on the scoresheet, getting his second this campaign.
He opened the scoring for the Nizams with a cool finish in the 14th minute. The Indian starlet was on the pitch for 65-odd minutes and recorded 83% passing accuracy.
Left Winger: Ritwik Das (Jamshedpur FC)
The growth of this talented lad from Asansol has been no short of astronomical over the course of the last five-odd games of ISL 2021-22. After another effective outing against Odisha FC when he found the back of the net in the 54th minute, Ritwik took home another laudable performance against Bengaluru FC.
Finishing that half-chance right from the edge of the box against a crowded ATK Mohun Bagan has seen Ritwik’s stock rise. Jamshedpur FC are certainly reaping rich dividends from his vein of form.
Second Striker: Greg Stewart (Jamshedpur FC)
He set the league on fire, had a little lull and is back to doing what he does best – grab games from the scruff of their neck and write himself all over them.
Two assists against Odisha FC, hitting the bar and four beautiful chances notwithstanding, Stewart found himself contributing yet again against Bengaluru FC. He was heavily man-marked and fouled, but managed to leave his imprint on the game.
Striker: Airam Cabrera (FC Goa)
This is only the second time a striker has scored a hat-trick off the bench in the Indian Super League, and what a way to get it! Airam Cabrera only made it to the pitch post half-time, but made sure left his name duly taken by the score-keepers.
Everything he touched on the evening against Kerala Blasters turned into gold and he even had the chance to get a fourth. This game, due to the Spaniard’s heroics, can sure get into the ISL’s Entertainment Hall of Fame.