Indian TOTW 14: I-League's hidden gems make mark on national stage with promise of bright future
Written by: Sourav Neogi
But, the ISL's household names once again dominate our picks for the Indian Football Team of the Week.
As the latest game week, which was filled with shockers for both the ISL and I-League sides passed by, packs of actions were unveiled to the fans in the subcontinent. The ISL saw heavyweights such as Bengaluru FC and Pune City dropping points while minnows advancing on to positive results. The I-League also displayed some exciting action as newcomers Gokulam Kerala FC managed to defeat both East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, with the latter also defeating high flying NEROCA FC in a showdown. So, who were the best Indian players who
Goalkeeper: Bilal Khan (Gokulam Kerala FC)
The former Churchill Brothers goalkeeper had delivered two back to back amazing performances in the last game week, against Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. Although a little too weak in footwork, Khan’s acrobatic abilities caught the eyes of many which helped the league newcomers to not concede any more goals. He was also awarded the Hero of Match against East Bengal afterwards.
Indian Football Team of the Week 14
The Islanders’ defender was in red-hot form last night against defending champions ATK. Although Pradhan did not play the entire game and was substituted shortly after the hour mark, he was one of the most effective players on the pitch. The former ATK and NorthEast United defender provided an assist and also created two chances and was one of the most formidable players on the pitch.
A leader in the backline, Jhingan’s performance was commendable against NorthEast United. His impressive performance against the Highlanders kept John Mosquera in check the entire game and was his aerial duels along with clearances helped the Southerners win the game.
The Dynamos defender was an integral part of the Delhi franchise’ win over NorthEast United. A ball playing defender by nature, Dhot contributed to his side’s supply up front. Also, the 20-year-old defender registered eight clearances which helped his side to win against the Highlanders.
One of the most exciting young prospects in the Indian Super League (ISL) this year, Lalrinzuala displayed an amazing performance against both FC Goa and Jamshedpur FC. The teenager kept being a thorn to the opponent defence in both the games and linked up with the forwards well, providing supply to the front lines. His defensive work was also impressive against both games, where he managed to register a whopping number of 12 clearances and 13 tackles.
Arguably the most exciting player for the Chennai based side this season. The skipper of the side, Soosairaj’s performance against in-form Churchill Brothers helped his side to win comfortably over the Red Machines. The 23-year-old scored two goals in the 29th and 54th minute to hand three points over to his side.
Another leadership figure in the dressing room along with another captain’s armband. Kiyam was particularly impressive in Indian Arrows’ fixture against defending champions Aizawl FC. The young midfielder scored the equalizer in the 89th minute by converting a penalty, which helped the Colts to pick a single point out of the game.
The standout performer in East Bengal’s win over Minerva Punjab FC. One of the most important fixtures for the Red and Gold this season, Lobo was the silver lining for the Kolkata side against the Warriors. Lobo’s screamer in the hour mark finally broke Minerva’s deadlock and allowed the Kolkata giants to snatch all three points.
Centre defensive midfielder: Dhanpal Ganesh (Chennaiyin FC)
A proper workhorse in the centre of the pitch, Ganesh was instrumental in Chennaiyin’s win against FC Goa. Ganesh’s performance helped the Southerners to keep the supply line intact as he registered a whopping 85% pass completion rate.
The 28-year-old attacker was a standout performer for NEROCA FC against Mohun Bagan. Although the Manipuri side eventually were defeated, Singh’s contribution in the entire game did not go unnoticed as he scored the opener for the game and greatly impacted NEROCA’s gameplay against the Kolkata giants.
Centre forward: Mohammed Rafi (Chennaiyin FC)
Watch: Mohammed Rafi scoring against Jamshedpur FC
One of the few Indian attackers who scored in the last game week, Rafi acted as a super sub for the Chennai franchise against Jamshedpur FC. The veteran striker came on with 18 minutes left on the clock and went on to score the only goal in the 89th minute, securing a single point in the fixture.
Published: Tue Feb 20, 2018 03:19 PM IST