Indian TOTW: Jeje leads the way as ISL stars hit back in battle for supremacy
Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar
Another scintillating week of action in Indian football's two premier leagues saw a few established stars return to the cream of the crop.
Indian football saw another week of highly entertaining action with the Indian Super League and I-League both producing some terrific matches over the past few days. The ISL saw Bengaluru FC maintain their position at the top of the table after an important away win at NorthEast United, while the high-flying Mohun Bagan marched onto the top of the table after a dominating win over Churchill Brothers.
The matches themselves were really entertaining and many Indian players managed to shine for their respective clubs during the week. So let us bring you the best Indian players from last week, as we take a look at Khel Now's Indian Team Of The Week.
Khel Now Indian Players' Team of the Week
Bengaluru FC received a big blow in their loss to FC Goa when their heroic goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was sent off and got a 2-match ban for his straight red. They were without their #1, but Lalthuammawia Ralte didn't let his absence be felt at all in his ISL debut for the club against NorthEast United.
Ralte was facing a side who are famous for their attacking style of play and he had a lot of work to do to preerve the clean-sheet for Bengaluru. The shot-stopper was quite sensational on the day, making six terrific saves, as well as three punches and a clearance. He won the Emerging Player of the Match award.
Seriton Fernandes may not have been on the score-sheet during FC Goa's 5-2 thumping of Kerala Blasters last week, but he definitely made an impact on the game with his terrific display on the day. Fernandes was always on the attack for Goa on the right flank, where he daunted forward with a lot of intent to create chances for his team.
He created a chance for his team and even though he didn't get an assist, he always seemed dangerous on the ball. Fernandes was quite solid defensively as well, with five clearances and two interceptions helping his side keep a lead over Kerala in the match.
Davinder Singh impressed everyone on his ISL debut against Kerala Blasters earlier this season, when he received the Emerging Player of the Match award. Davinder retained his spot in Mumbai's defense against Chennaiyin FC last week, where he was also very impressive in containing the dangerous attack of the Machans.
Not only did the defender mark his opponents brilliantly, but he also made five crucial clearances on the day and made sure Chennaiyin didn't get a sniff at goal. He made sure Chennaiyin didn't get an open chance at goal and received a yellow card for being too rash at one point, but he was otherwise solid with his defensive display on the day before being replaced by Raju Gaikwad.
FC Pune City have had quite a stunning start to the ISL season and a new hero rose up for them last week when Adil Khan played a big part in getting an important away win against Jamshedpur FC. Khan did his defensive duties amazingly well throughout the match, marking Jamshedpur's attackers well and putting in a lot of effort to make sure they couldn't penetrate Pune's defense.
The centre-back made two clearances and interceptions in the match and also proved to be the match-winner with his clever goal which is the only one Jamshedpur have conceded so far this season. Further, Adil showed nerves of steel after Fanai was sent off, seeing off the game to ensure a great away win.
Adil Khan scored a cracking header against Jamshedpur FC
Jerry Lalrinzuala makes our team of the week for the third week in a row, and the 19-year-old seems to be making this position his own! Jerry produced another stunning performance against ATK at home last week, where he proved to be defensively sound as well as extremely dangerous in attack as well.
He made two crucial blocks and an interception to help out his defense and marked the dangerous Bipin Singh really well on the day. Along with that Jerry produced a really smart assist when he fed Inigo Calderon to make it 2-1.
Dhanpal Ganesh is proving himself to be a really important midfielder for Chennaiyin this season and he played another crucial role for them last week in their important win over ATK. Ganesh made sure that Chennaiyin won the midfield battle on the day and definitely bossed the play against the duo of Conor Thomas and Rupert Nongrum.
The midfielder had a passing accuracy of 73% from his 49 passes, while he was brilliant defensively as well. He made three crucial clearances for the Machans, while also making two interceptions to make sure that ATK did not take the game away from Chennaiyin's hands.
Udanta Singh returns to Khel Now's Team of the Week after a brief absence, with his terrific performance against NEUFC proving why he's one of the best wingers in the country. Udanta continued his stellar work on the right flank, where he was a nightmare for Reegan Singh and Holicharan Narzary as well.
He created some good chances for The Blues, but he proved why he's known as "The Flash" when he showed his quickness by latching onto T.P Rehenesh's missed cleance and laid the ball off for Miku to score. He won the "Winning Pass of the Match" award for his assist.
FC Goa put on a masterclass last week in their 5-2 thrashing of Blasters and while their foreigners might be getting all the accolades right now, their Indian core has been doing great as well. One of the home-grown players who shined for them was Brandon Fernandes, who had a terrific match in midfield for The Gaurs.
Brandon showed a lot of energy throughout the match and was always present in Goa's counter-attacks and created quite a lot of chances as well. He also took many swipes at goal, also getting one shot on target and had a great passing accuracy of 71% from his 52 passes. The cherry on top for him was when he played a delightful ball for Corominas to score his 2nd and he won the Emerging Player of the Match for his fantastic display.
Center-Midfield: Sheikh Faiaz (Mohun Bagan)
Sheikh Faiaz did pretty well in the Kolkata Derby earlier this month, but he proved why Sanjoy Sen is so confident in him with his terrific performance against Churchill Brothers at the weekend. The midfielder was chosen to start ahead of Naro Hari Shrestha on the day and repaid his coach's faith with a tireless performance.
He showed some impressive movement on the right much to the surprise of the Churchill defenders and played a clever pass for Ansumana Kromah to score the opener for the Mariners. He started the 2nd half brilliantly as well, putting in a great cross for Aser Dipanda Dicka to complete his brace and got his reward when Kromah laid on a ball for Faiaz to score his first I-League goal.
East Bengal showed great recovery from their derby defeat to Mohun Bagan, coming back to beat Shillong Lajong with an emphatic 5-1 margin and proving how good they are. One of the players who was influential in their win was Laldanmawia Ralte, with the midfielder having a terrific match for the Red and Gold Brigaders.
He showed a lot of energy and willingness to go forward, creating some good chances for them. Ralte scored a brace in the second half, showing great skills and energy to go past players and put the ball into the back of the net. He even earned a penalty, but let Katsumi take it instead of completing his hat-trick.
Jeje Lalpekhlua Hero of the Match Vs ATK
Chennaiyin FC needed a hero to give them their first league win over ATK in almost two years and they found one in the excellent Jeje Lalpekhlua. Jeje looked to be in the form which won the Machans the ISL title a few seasons ago, with the striker being a terror for ATK's defense.
He played a bit deeper in the first half, trying to create chances for his side, but he realized how he'd need to be at his best for them to snatch a win in the 2nd half. He played the role of a poacher perfectly latching onto a few mistakes from the ATK defense to expertly score a brace which won Chennaiyin three crucial points.
Published: Tue Dec 12, 2017 06:15 PM IST