I-League TOTP Two: Rajesh, Pintu Mahata make the headlines
Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar
The second phase of the league saw many youngsters rising up to the occasion for their respective sides.
It’s been a very interesting start to the I-League season, with early surprises already popping up. Chennai City FC have emerged as surprisingly early contenders for the title, while the Kolkata clubs and Northeast heavyweights are still adapting to the new season. The domestic players proved their mettle with some inspired performance this week, with certain ones standing tall. Here is our team for the second phase of the I-League season.
Goalkeeper: Bilal Khan (Real Kashmir FC)
Bilal Khan continued his heroics for Real Kashmir, making some stunning saves to keep a clean-sheet against Churchill Brothers. Khan looked alert in making crucial stops, but was unable to do anything in stopping NEROCA’s untimely goals.
Right-Back: Ashok Singh Moirangmayum (NEROCA FC)
Ashok Singh played a big part in NEROCA FC's back to back clean-sheets and played his part in their defensive solidarity, putting up a commendable performances as the right-back. Not only did he contain his opponents amazingly, he even gave an assist against Real Kashmir and played his part in earning two clean-sheets for NEROCA.
I-League Team of Phase Two
Anwar Ali continued to prove his positive development with Indian Arrows, helping them earn a crucial clean-sheet in their narrow win against Shillong Lajong. Ali was solid against Lajong and helped contain their terrorizing attacking threat. He couldn’t do much against the physically superior Mohun Bagan, but continued showing his defensive improvement with a commendable performance in Arrows’ first win.
Center-Back: Arashpreet Singh (Minerva Punjab FC)
Arashpreet Singh was crucial to attaining Minerva Punjab’s first win of the season, giving a strong showing against Aizawl. Arashpreet was excellent in the middle, making crucial clearances and tackles to contain Aizawl. He was a lively figure in defense for them and thwarted Aizawl’s danger whenever needed.
Left-Back: Ajithkumar Kamaraj (Chennai City FC)
Ajithkumar Kamaraj is proving to be a brilliant find for Chennai City and gave some glittering performances in the last phase. Kamaraj gave a lively performance in the Southern Derby and won the “Hero of the Match” award against Gokulam Kerala. He continued his superb defensive work against East Bengal, while also playing the ball which helped earn the decisive penalty in Chennai’s win in Kolkata.
Center-Midfield: Gani Nigam (Gokulam Kerala FC)
Gani Nigam gave an inspired showing for Gokulam Kerala against Shillong Lajong FC, flooring the inexperience Lajong side with his wit and creativity. Nigam scored a clever goal to open his account for Gokulam and later delivered a beautiful assist for another goal, with his special performance winning him the Hero of the Match award.
Center-Midfield: Charles Anandraj Lourdswamy (Chennai City FC)
Charles Anandraj has been Chennai City’s silent guardian in midfield and has been doing some amazing work discreetly. Anandraj gave some terrific performances against both Gokulam and East Bengal, constantly breaking down attacks and making crucial interceptions. Anandraj’s compelling distribution and ability to disrupt play is perfect for Chennai’s system and is highly beneficiary to the league-leaders.
Samuel Lalmuanpuia was the beacon of hope for Lajong against Churchill Brothers
The Shillong Lajong captain did his best to inspire his team in recent games. Samuel’s movement and set-pieces caused big problems for Indian Arrows, while he was solid against Churchill too. Lalmuanpuia scored a beautiful curler to open his account for the season, but was unlucky to see his side go down against the Goan opponents.
Right-Wing: Pravitto Raju (Chennai City FC)
Pravitto Raju’s excellent work helped Chennai City earn two crucial away victories. Raju scored the opener against Gokulam Kerala, showing impressive agility and was superb against East Bengal. He made a darting run and earned the winning penalty in Kolkata, as Raju’s clever movement and goal-scoring ability greatly aided Chennai in recent matches.
Left-Wing: Pintu Mahata (Mohun Bagan)
Mahata was a standout performer for the Mariners against Indian Arrows
Pintu Mahata looked really dangerous against Indian Arrows, putting up a bright performance which must’ve impressed coach Sankarlal Chakraborty. Mahata was impressive in using his clever movement to create problems for Arrows throughout. He earned the penalty for the Mariners which effectively put the game to bed and helped earn their first win of the I-League season.
Striker: Rajesh Soosainayagam (Gokulam Kerala FC)
Rajesh got his first start for Gokulam Kerala against Shillong Lajong and pounced on the opportunity. He’s created a fantastic chemistry with Antonio German and VP Suhair which resulted in some excellent attacking football against Shillong. Rajesh scored a well-deserved goal for The Malabarians against Shillong and produced many outstanding moments in an energetic performance.
Published: Sun Nov 18, 2018 01:04 AM IST