Indian TOTW: I-League youngsters outshine ISL stars as both leagues gather pace
Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar
The country's top flight flexes its muscles as its upstarts dominate our picks ahead of their more illustrious counterparts in the cash-rich league.
The Indian football scene is looking to be more exciting than ever and it was a really entertaining week with both the Indian Super League and I-League teams putting on some amazing matches for the fans. There were some shocks along the way, but this week helped to throw up the potential top runners and riders for both these competitions. Shillong Lajong were quite terrific during the week and ended it by going top of the I-League, while Chennaiyin FC had a strong week in the ISL.
Along with these two premier competitions, the Goa Professional League continued to produce some enthralling football, with some entertaining matches being played in it as well. So let's have a look at the players who made the Khel Now Indian Football Team of the Week!
Khel Now Indian players team of the week
Goalkeeper: Amrinder Singh (Mumbai City FC)
Amrinder brilliant save Vs FC Pune Pune City
Amrinder Singh makes our team of the week for the second week, with the Mumbai City FC goalkeeper giving yet another stunning performance in goal for the Blues. Amrinder faced the daunting attacks of FC Pune City and Kerala Blasters this week. Singh made sure his side got a point from Kochi and pulled off some superb saves in both games.
He was also assertive in the air, making four punches and clearing the ball from danger three times as well. The shot-stopper seems to be in brilliant form for Mumbai City right now and Alexandre Guimaraes will hope his No #1 will continue his great work between the posts throughout the season.
Defender: Boris Singh Thangjam (Indian Arrows)
Boris Singh Thangjam was one of the finds of the tournament for the Indian U-17 side at the FIFA U-17 World Cup, impressing everyone with his work-rate and solid defensive work. He started for Indian Arrows earlier this week and was absolutely stunning in his I-League debut against Chennai City FC.
Not only did Boris do very well in containing the packed attacking threat of Chennai, but he also showed great attacking intent on the counter-attacks. He showed great energy throughout the match and got his reward when he found some luck and scored the third goal for the Arrows. It capped off a superb, hard-working performance for the 17-year old, who proved his mettle on the day.
Defender: Novin Gurung (Shillong Lajong FC)
Shillong Lajong started the I-League season in a rather impressive manner, as they are playing some sublime attacking football which is great to watch for any Indian football fan. Even after losing their manager Thangboi Singto in the summer, Lajong have kept their style of football the same and are looking like a rejuvenated side this season with their blooming youth.
Novin Gurung is one of those shining youngsters for them this season and he played a key role in Lajong's convincing win over Churchill Brothers. The versatile player drifted into defense superbly for the Reds and was defensively sound on the day to stop Churchill Brothers from even getting a sniff at goal. He stood up to the unpredictable attack of the Red Machines and deserves a lot of credit for his solid performance in defense for Lajong this week.
Defender: Jerry Lalrinzuala (Chennaiyin FC)
Jerry Lalrinzuala Hero of the Match Vs FC Pune City
Jerry Lalrinzuala is another player to make our team of the week for consecutive weeks, as the young defender gave yet another terrific performance for the Super Machans in their win against FC Pune City away from home. Jerry was up against the threat of Marcelinho and handled him really well on the day, marking him tightly and not letting him get much space to threaten in.
He also made two precious clearances, one interception and one pivotal block to keep the clean sheet for his side. Jerry was named the Hero of the Match after his terrific defensive showcase on the day, proving why he's one of Chennaiyin's best players right now and has a bright future ahead of him.
Left Midfield: Halicharan Narzary (Northeast United FC)
Holicharan Narzary Hero of the Vs Delhi Dynamos
Halicharan Narzary showed his brilliance on the wings and earned three important points for NorthEast United earlier this week when the Highlanders shocked Delhi Dynamos by defeating them 0-2 in the capital. Narzary was an absolute menace for countryman Pritam Kotal on the day and reveled under the pressure of the game.
He produced a terrific assist when he went past the defenders and crossed in a looping ball for Marcinho to give the Highlanders the lead and continued being an absolute menace for the Dynamos. He later went on to have a shot on goal which seemed dangerous and his crossing was really pinpoint on the day. Narzary also did well defensively and won the Hero of the Match award for his amazing performance which helped NorthEast finally get some points on the board.
Center Midfield: Samuel Lalmuanpuia (Shillong Lajong FC)
Samuel Lalmuanpuia has truly been captain fantastic for Shillong so far this season and the 19-year-old is leading from the front to make sure they play some beautiful attacking football this time as well. Lalmuanpuia played a key part in Lajong's opening win over Gokulam Kerala but was even better against Churchill Brothers. He has been a constant threat in attack and threads all the dangerous moves for Lajong.
Samuel is terrific at set-pieces and delivered an absolutely inch-perfect free-kick from almost 40 yards out for Alen Deory's opening goal against Churchill. He continued showing great energy and orchestrating many moves for Lajong, who can go a long way this season if their captain keeps on performing at this rate.
Center Midfield: Raynier Fernandes (Mohun Bagan FC)
Mohun Bagan got a hard-earned win over East Bengal in the Kolkata Derby at the weekend, one could argue that the Mariners got all three points thanks to winning the midfield battle on the day. While Yuta Kinowaki caught the eye of many with his energetic performance, Raynier Fernandes was equally important to Bagan controlling the game for most of the time and containing their rivals so well.
Fernandes was happy to sit back as Kinowaki closed down East Bengal's midfielders and helped his defenders very well. His distribution was also very good and he was also very good at keeping a proper defensive line and clearing set-pieces as well. Fernandes silently did his job perfectly to help The Mariners get this big win early in the season.
Right Midfield: Omkar More (Calangute Association)
The GPL always manages to unearth some surprise packages every week and one such was Omkar More who was brilliant for Calangute Association earlier this week against Dempo SC. The winger has stunning ball-control for his age and has the versatility of being able to play on either wing for his club. More delighted the Calangute fans when he scored the opening goal for them against Dempo, which was a powerful finish to get his side into the lead.
Left-Wing: William Lalnunfela (Aizawl FC)
I-League Highlights: East Bengal 2-2 Aizawl FC ( William Lalnunfela Brace)
Aizawl FC didn't get off to the best of starts to their season against East Bengal, when they found themselves down 2-0 against the Red and Gold with only 20 minutes to play. But, they showed the stuff of champions after that and attacker William Lalnunfela was pivotal to their comeback on the day.
He made a poacher's finish to score the first goal for Aizawl, before capitalizing on a mistake by East Bengal and scoring the equalizer in added time to send the Aizawl the visitors into raptures. Lalnunfela showed great instinct to score an impressive brace in the first I-League match of the season for him and can be an important player for Aizawl as the season progresses if he can continue banging in vital goals like he did against East Bengal.
Right-Wing: Aniket Jadhav (Indian Arrows)
Aniket Jhadav Brace against Chennai City FC
Aniket Jadhav had a lot to prove with Indian Arrows after having an average outing with the Indian U-17 team at the FIFA U-17 World Cup and he finally showcased his lethal goalscoring skills against Chennai City. Jadhav looked really dangerous with his movement which was a menace for the Chennai defenders and he scored a brilliant opening goal when he curled in the ball from outside the box to give the Arrows the lead.
His second goal was a much calmer finish after some good work from the midfielders and this brilliant brace helped the Arrows end the first week as leaders of the I-League.
Striker: Balwant Singh (Mumbai City FC)
Balwant bends it Vs FC Pune City
Balwant Singh has a lot riding on his shoulders this season as he's the main striker for Mumbai City who paid a lot of money to bring him in. But he's already paying back their faith in him and has made an impressive start to the season. The striker first scored a brilliant goal against Pune to give his team the lead
He helped Mumbai earn a crucial point away to Blasters. Balwant managed to go past countryman Sandesh Jhingan and leapt upon a great pass from Everton Santos to equalize for Mumbai City and in the process also finally broke the defensive ranks of Kerala who had kept two clean sheets in their previous two games. He won the Hero of the Match award for his fantastic performance and Balwant looks to be in really hot form right now which is bad news for Mumbai's opponents.
Published: Tue Dec 05, 2017 03:44 PM IST