Several ATK stars make the cut after an important win against the Men of Steel last week.
The Indian Super League (ISL 2019-20) takes a short pause from the exhilarating action with the international break at large. However, the league provided some feisty spectacles before a two-week rest. While the bygone gameweek also had some relatively cagey games with plenty of controversies, there were also high-scoring ones between rivals, old friends and conflicting philosophies.
ATK ended the week on top of the ISL 2019-20 table and have won three games in a row, since the opening day defeat to Kerala Blasters. FC Goa continued their undefeated opening to the season, while defending champions Bengaluru FC hit back hard to pile more misery on Chennaiyin FC.
Some masterful performances defined these results, with young Indian lads impressing once again to give Igor Stimac a dilemma. The reputed foreigners also made their presence felt with match-winning displays. We mix things up and look at the Team of the Week for ISL 2019-20’s Week 3.
Goalkeeper: Subashish Roy Chowdhury (NorthEast United)
Subashish Roy has been having a stellar season in between the posts for NorthEast United, filling in for Pawan Kumar brilliantly and saving Robert Jarni’s side from trouble time and again. The Highlanders’ #1 gave another resounding performance against Hyderabad FC, parrying out their attempts every time they got an opening in his final third.
Roy made four saves in the game, denying Marcelinho, Abhishek Halder and Co. from rattling the ball into the net. He remained agile throughout, being confident with his collections and earning another clean-sheet to maintain his charge for the Golden Glove.
ISL 2019-20: Team of the Week 3
Right-Back: Shubham Sarangi (Odisha FC)
Shubham Sarangi’s proving to be one of Odisha FC’s brightest prospects and has come a really long way under the guidance of Josep Gombau recently. The right-back had another stellar night at Kochi, keeping Kerala Blasters contained in their own backyard to prove his defensive might.
Sarangi gave a tenacious performance, in which he kept Rahul KP quiet and dealt with his as well as Jessel Carneiro’s sparky movement well. The full-back made seven clearances, three tackles and three interceptions in another spirited showing, helping his side keep their first clean-sheet of the season.
Centre-Back: Kai Heerings (NorthEast United)
NorthEast United were defensively very strong during their visit to the city of Nawabs, with Kai Heerings leading the charge with a rock-solid display. He was everywhere in the defensive third, keeping Abhishek Halder quiet and dealing with Marcelinho’s trickery pretty well too.
The Dutch defender was seemingly always at the right places to steer off danger, making 10 clearances to frustrate the hosts. Moreover, he also made three interceptions and roared his side ahead with promising forward passes.
Centre-Back: Agus Garcia (ATK)
A stormy night at the Salt Lake Stadium with the rain constantly pouring on the players didn’t make it ideal circumstances for defending. But, Agus Garcia weathered the storm to come out on top against the dangerous Jamshedpur FC, putting in a clinic to keep Farukh Choudhary and Sergio Castel at bay.
The Spaniard’s quickly becoming a crucial cog in ATK’s defence and gave his best performance yet, making an incredible 23 clearances (a record this season) as well as a couple of tackles and interceptions. He shut up shop at the back for ATK, thwarting away whatever the Men of Steel threw at him.
Left-Back: Nishu Kumar (Bengaluru FC)
Even in their topsy-turvy start, Nishu Kumar has been a consistent performer for Bengaluru FC this season and seemed rejuvenated to deal with rivals Chennaiyin FC in the Southern Derby on Sunday. The youngster held his own against Chennaiyin’s unpredictable attack, making five clearances to avoid danger for his side.
He was also solid going forward, with a 78% passing accuracy and created one chance as well. Kumar helped his side to their second clean-sheet this campaign and showed off his defensive strengths to Igor Stimac as well.
Right Central Midfield: Jayesh Rane (ATK)
Jayesh Rane had a tough night dealing with Jamshedpur FC’s experienced midfielders, but he put in another triumphant shift in central midfield to prove his versatility. The former Aizawl FC winger has taken to Antonio Habas’ system perfectly, as he worked his socks off trying to keep Jamshedpur’s threat contained.
Rane made four tackles to win back possession and his 79% passing accuracy proves how solid his link-up play was. He also came close to scoring when his shot skewered wide in the second half, as the industrious midfielder provided enough bite to ATK’s midfield with his tenacious showing.
Central Midfield: Erik Paartalu (Bengaluru FC)
Making his return from a lengthy injury spell, the Australian picked up right from where he had left off last season. Paartalu brought back that lethal edge which Bengaluru FC had been lacking in the first few games, making incisive passes and retaining composure in midfield. He scored his strike expertly heading in Dimas Delgado’s’ corner, before providing an assist towards the end, when his delightful chip allowed Thongkhosiem Haokip to score.
Paartalu also had an excellent 85% passing accuracy and created three chances, while also being diligent defensively with two interceptions and blocks.
The five games produced 14 goals and caused trouble in the league table.
Left Central Midfield: Lenny Rodrigues (FC Goa)
Lenny Rodrigues has been a crucial cog for Sergio Lobera at FC Goa in ISL 2019-20 and he proved that once again, giving a superb performance against Mumbai City FC to wash away last season’s ISL final blues. He scored his first goal of the season with a sweet strike to get things rolling for his team and maintained precise control in midfield with an 83% passing accuracy.
Not only did he distribute the ball accurately, but Lenny also worked tirelessly to help his defence. By making four interceptions, three clearances and two tackles, the hard-working midfielder proved once again why he deserves a spot in the national team.
Attacking Midfielder: Hugo Boumous (FC Goa)
If Lenny was the workhorse of the day, Hugo Boumous acted as the midfield powerhouse by using his tenacity to trouble the Islanders. He was all over the place in the final third, making crisp forward passes and marching his side ahead whenever possible.
Boumous also showcased his lethal instincts when he skipped past the defenders’ sight and tucked in Fall’s header to give his team an important lead. While the Spaniard wasn’t as influential as he’d like to be, his instinctive finish gave Goa enough leverage to get a crucial away win.
Striker: Sunil Chhetri (Bengaluru FC)
Sunil Chhetri didn’t really have the best of starts to ISL 2019-20 and struggled to impress in his side’s first three games. But, on Sunday, the Bengaluru FC captain proved that form is temporary, but class is permanent. Chhetri was a livewire going forward, harrying Chennaiyin’s defence with his instinctive movement and finding the right space to capitalize on.
He produced a moment of magic in the first half, taking Raphael Augusto’s through-ball in his stride, before striking a thunderous half-volley to score his first of the ISL 2019-20 season. Chhetri inspired Bengaluru to a crucial win when the chips were down, boosting his own confidence before India’s FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.
Striker: Roy Krishna (ATK)
There’s a reason ATK paid big bucks to secure Roy Krishna’s services for the ISL 2019-20 season. The Fijian proved that by churning up his own storm to blow away Jamshedpur FC, on a day when Kolkata was facing the threat of a cyclone. Krishna was excellent with his movement and link-up play with David Williams.
After a frustrating first half, he turned up his swagger in the second and his sudden bursting runs forced fouls in the box. He converted both the penalties with utmost confidence and at Subrata Paul’s expense. Krishna then turned provider in the dying moments, cleverly finding Edu Garcia to round off a sensational performance in difficult conditions.