ISL Indian TOTW 3: Lallianzuala Chhangte, Thoi Singh, Raynier Fernandes among new entrants
Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar
The recently concluded round saw some of the highest scoring games in the league so far.
The Indian Super League (ISL) returned with a bang after the first International break of the season, with some engrossing matches proving the utmost potential of the teams. Be it a thrilling derby or a high-scoring encounter involving the defending champions, the ISL teams did not disappoint in terms of entertainment this week. The Indian players played a big part in the post-break matches being so enjoyable and put in some commendable performances. Here’s our ISL Indian team of the week.
Goalkeeper: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (Bengaluru FC)
Ever since his excellent performance against China in the International break, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has been full of confidence and that showed in his display against FC Pune City. While Bengaluru cruised to victory in the end, things weren’t easy for the India #1 at all. Sandhu had to make some important save and did exceptionally to save Marcelinho’s curling free-kick. Sandhu ended up having a busy day, making six saves and eight clearances. He had to work hard in order to attain a clean-sheet and did superbly to deny the Stallions a sniff at goal.
Right-Back: Rahul Bheke (Bengaluru FC)
Rahul Bheke hasn’t really the best of starts to the new ISL season, but he seems to be getting better with each passing week. Bheke displayed his solid defensively nature against FC Pune City, where he was up against Nikhil Poojary for a long time. Bheke remained concrete on his wings and did not let the Stallions penetrate from his side. He made a few crucial tackles and five clearances to avert disaster whenever FC Pune City threatened. Bheke’s solid outing will give him the confidence he needs to retain his superb form from last season.
ISL Team of The Week squad
Center-Back: Sandesh Jhingan (Kerala Blasters FC)
Kerala Blasters’ captain has made it his mission to lead from the front this season and is putting in some amazing performances for club and country. Jhingan was solid as ever against Delhi Dynamos last week, sniffing out danger whenever the visitors tried to penetrate the box. He made an incredible eight clearances throughout the game, as well as a couple of important blocks and tackles. Jhingan kept his man at bay and put in a hard-working and was cruelly denied a clean-sheet because of Delhi’s sneaky equalizer late in the game.
Center-Back: Subhashish Bose (Mumbai City FC)
In what was his first Maharashtra Derby in the ISL, Subhashish Bose put in an effort which will make him a big fan-favourite in Mumbai. The former Bengaluru FC defender was excellent in centre-defence for his side and did not let FC Pune City get a clean chance at goal. His game-reading was terrific as he was in the right place at the right time and made a terrific 13 clearances throughout his game. Bose was excellent in marking Emiliano Alfaro out of the game and proved his ability as a proficient central-defender once again.
Left-Back: Ricky Lallawmawma (ATK)
Ricky Lallawmawma is slowly starting to make the left-back position at ATK his own and must’ve improved coach Steve Coppell with his work against Jamshedpur FC. Ricky did extremely well to contain the barrage of attacks through the wing and kept Jerry Mawi relatively quiet throughout the game. He made some important tackles and blocks to stop Jamshedpur from easily penetrating into their box. The former Mohun Bagan left-back put in a great effort to help his side get a point from this difficult fixture and proved his ability against the best of attackers.
Centre-Midfield: Raynier Fernandes (Mumbai City FC)
Raynier put in an absolute clinic to derail FC Pune City’s midfield in the hotly contested Maharashtra derby. The local lad definitely knew about the importance of the occasion and stepped up his game in order to completely neutralize the Stallions midfield. Not only did he mark the effective Adil Khan out of the game, but Raynier was a delight to watch going forward. His clever runs and brilliant passing helped the Islanders keep the game flowing and he even made a few important challenges in midfield. Had a terrific shot saved by Kaith, as a goal would’ve been the perfect cherry to top off an excellent showing.
Centre-Midfield: Rowllin Borges (NorthEast United FC)
Rowllin Borges is proving out to be an absolute gem under Eelco Schattorie’s system at NorthEast United this season. Borges did everything there is to do in the game against Chennaiyin, which started horribly for him as he scored an own-goal. However, he redeemed himself with an incredible effort after that as he dominated the midfield. Borges provided a stunning assist for Ogbeche’s second and capped off a sensational comeback by scoring a thunderous winner for the Highlanders. Borges also had an 80% passing accuracy and made many tackles, as he was a live-wire in NorthEast’s midfield and gave his absolute best against the defending champions.
Right-Wing: Thoi Singh (Chennaiyin FC)
Thoi Singh made sure that Chennaiyin FC didn’t miss the presence of Jeje Lalpekhlua and produced a great performance against NorthEast United. Thoi moved like a live-wire in the final third and made it extremely difficult for the Highlanders to contain his pace and movement. He tracked Isaac’s movement really well and was in the right place to score his first goal of the season. Thoi doubled Chennaiyin’s advantage through a clever goal later in the first half and definitely deserved his brace on the day. While Chennaiyin fell to a disappointing loss, in the end, Thoi was a bright spark in their attack and will feature in many matches this season.
Attacking Midfield: Michael Soosairaj (Jamshedpur FC)
After impressing in the I-League last season, Michael Soosairaj is finally coming of age in the ISL. Soosairaj was quite impressive against ATK and was an ever-bearing figure in the attacking third. He moved to the wings and often came centrally to try and create chances for his side and always kept ATK guessing about his movement. Soosairaj created an impressive chance in the game but was unlucky to see it being wasted. He took quite a few swipes at goal and was positive throughout the game, which must’ve impressed coach Cesar Ferrando.
Left-Wing: Lallianzuala Chhangte (Delhi Dynamos)
Lallianzuala Chhangte is slowly finding his grip in the new season and gave a really promising performance against Kerala Blasters last week. In what was an intimidating fixture at Kochi, Chhangte caused some big problems for Mohamed Rakip and made him work hard throughout the game. Chhangte displayed his sensational burst of pace and made some stunning runs on the left-flank, but was unlucky not to get anything. He made a few dangerous crosses and was Delhi’s brightest figure going forward. Won the Emerging Player of the Match award for his bright performance.
Striker: Sunil Chhetri (Bengaluru FC)
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Watch: Sunil Chhetri scored a brace against FC Pune City in the recently concluded round
A special performance was due for Sunil Chhetri, as he brought out his absolute best against FC Pune City. Chhetri tormented the Stallions' defence with his work on the ball, and his movement off-the-ball gave nightmares to Sarthak Golui. Chhetri scored his first of the season with a clever run and comfortable finish which was vintage Sunil Chhetri. He added another one minutes later after his first when he took Miku’s assist well to trick Pune’s defenders and calmly finish to complete his brace. Chhetri was absolutely unstoppable on the day and floored the Stallions with a performance which proves why he’s regarded as the best in the country.