The start of the new year brought some rather sensational football and iconic performances.
There were some exciting results in the Indian Super League (ISL) this past week, including incredible individual performances from domestic and foreign players alike. From Odisha FC’s important victory over Mumbai City FC to Kerala Blasters upsetting ATK at their own backyard, the results kept the fans on the edge of their seats.
While foreign players continue to dominate the proceedings in key roles, Indian players are punching above their weight and keeping up with them in terms of efforts and performances. The games also saw four clean sheets, making it a fruitful time especially for the defenders. The decade has certainly started off on a blazing note and the fans can only expect more from this point onward.
Players from Chennaiyin FC and Bengaluru FC dominate the lineup after notching up important solid victories in the past few days. Here is the ISL 2019-20 Team of the Week 9:
Goalkeeper: TP Rehenesh (Kerala Blasters FC)
Facing off against a high-flying, free-scoring ATK was a tough task to begin with, but TP Rehenesh delivered a classy performance to keep the attackers of the opposition at bay and secure a clean sheet away from home. His performance was crucial in securing all three points for the Manjappada.
Right-Back: Edwin Vanspaul (Chennaiyin FC)
Edwin Vanspaul has been a consistent performer for Chennaiyin FC this season. He maintained his form when he came up against one of the most lethal attackers in the league, Ferran Corominas. The full-back handled the challenge well and looked ever-composed on the ball and never seemed to fluster in tough situations.
ISL 2019-20: Team of the Week 9
Centre-Back: Juanan (Bengaluru FC)
Bengaluru FC’s defensive prowess has been on full display this term and the secret behind that is their leader at the back, Juanan. The centre-back was again influential for his team, leading the back-line efficiently and helping his side towards another clean sheet. Moreover, he was also offered a new contract by the outfit for his outstanding services.
Centre-Back: Carlos Delgado (Odisha FC)
Odisha FC’s silent resurgence in ISL continued with an important 2-0 victory over Mumbai City FC who were undefeated away from home before this fixture. Carlos Delgado was instrumental in the home side’s flawless performance which led to their second successive clean sheet. A total of nine clearances from the tall defender and being solid in aerial duels gets him a spot in our team.
Left-Back: Jerry Lalrinzuala (Chennaiyin FC)
Chennaiyin FC’s full-backs were on song against Hyderabad FC, therefore Jerry Lalrinzuala also gets a place in the lineup. The young full-back was a nuisance when going forward with the ball and covered spaces behind him with great execution. An overall mature performance from the 21 year-old where he had an 86% pass accuracy, four successful tackles and five clearances.
Centre Defensive-Midfield: Lenny Rodrigues (FC Goa)
Lenny Rodrigues is making a name for himself in the centre of the midfield for FC Goa with his consistent performances. His distribution of the ball was again on point, but his industry was more impressive as he not only provided cover to the defenders, but also got forward to contribute in the attacking front.
Centre Defensive-Midfield: Erik Paartalu (Bengaluru FC)
Erik Paartalu has been a key figure alongside Dimas Delgado for Bengaluru and the pair has dominated against most of the teams. The Australian was impressive for the Blues and also scored the crucial opener against Jamshedpur FC with a sublime header.
Centre Attacking-Midfield: Xisco Hernandez (Odisha FC)
If Odisha FC’s resurgence is to be credited to one player, then it has to be Xisco Hernandez. The midfielder scored his fifth goal of the season in Odisha FC’s latest victory and has been a constant threat in every fixture. Deserving of a place in the team of the week.
Right Wing: Halicharan Narzary (Kerala Blasters FC)
Halicharan Narzary has picked up his performances of late and scored the all important goal against ATK that differentiated the two sides on the night. His work-rate on the flank was noteworthy and left the gaffer clearly impressed.
Left Wing: Sunil Chhetri (Bengaluru FC)
Sunil Chhetri seems to be only getting better with age, scoring his eighth goal of the season. For, the 35 year-old is tied at the top of scoring charts and stays as the highest scoring Indian this term yet.
Centre Forward: Nerijus Valskis (Chennaiyin FC)
Nerijus Valskis was too hot to handle for Hyderabad defenders as the forward continued his fiery goal-scoring form. He managed a brace and an assist against the hosts, helping his side to a 3-1 away victory. His goal tally for the season has now reached seven! Valskis truthfully deserves a place in the team of the week.