ISL 2017/18: Team of the Week after Round 8
Round 8 of the ISL was nothing short of being dramatic. From a delayed ATK-Goa fixture to Jamshedpur scoring twice in a game for the first time this season. NorthEast United were finally able to win a game at home while the Dynamos managed their first point after 6 games. But who were the 11 players that impressed us the most? Let's find out.
GK: Rehenesh TP (NorthEast United)
The Kerala-born custodian has been with the Highlanders right from season 1 of the ISL but had endured a difficult start this time, committing some errors that led to the opposition scoring and also getting sent off against Kerala Blasters earlier in the campaign. But he put in a great shift against FC Goa to give NorthEast United their first home win this season, pulling off 5 saves, grabbing 7 crosses and was also alert to the danger, punching the ball away 7 times.
CB: Prabir Das (ATK)
The former Mohun Bagan right back didn't have the best of games when ATK faced off against FC Goa before getting subbed after the halftime mark. But he redeemed himself against the Blues and was arguably ATK's best player on the pitch. He read the game perfectly, managing 3 interceptions, and with his no-nonsense attitude and registered 4 clearances to his name. He helped his side build up from the back, managing 51 passes and overlapped with 3 crosses, creating a goalscoring chance for his side.
CB: Jose Goncalves (NorthEast United)
The Portuguese centre-back has a vital understanding with his partner Sambinha with the duo previously having played together for the New England Revolution side. This partnership did wonders when NorthEast United successfully managed to stop the combo of Lanzarote and Coro from going out on a scoring spree and helped the Highlanders register their first win in the last 5 games. Goncalves led from the back, clearing the ball away a mammoth 10 times and also didn't allow the Gaurs to combine by intercepting the ball twice.
CB: Juanan Gonzalez (Bengaluru FC)
The Spaniard made his name for Bengaluru FC in the AFC Cup 2016 semi-final, when he scored in a crucial win over Johor Darul Ta'zim and has been the mainstay of the side since. In fact, he has started a few games ahead of the experienced John Johnson this season and continued to impress when he won the Hero of the Match against ATK for his commanding performance helping them keep a clean sheet and hence climb to the top of the table. He was unlucky to have not scored as he went close on more than a couple of occasions and contributed in defence with 3 blocks and 2 clearances.
CM: David Ngaihte (Delhi Dynamos FC)
David Ngaihte started his footballing career with Goodwill FC in Delhi in 2008 before playing for a host of I-League sides. He represented the Highlanders in season 1 but it was his performances for Minerva Punjab that earned him a contract of the club from the capital city. After a host of substitute appearances this season, he started against Chennaiyin FC and redeemed himself scoring his first ISL goal and thus giving Delhi the lead. Unfortunately, Jeje's brilliance meant that the Dynamos could take away just a point from this fixture.
CM: Kizito Keziron (Kerala Blasters FC)
The Ugandan international, who has already played in 13 official games for his side became one of the youngest foreigners to play in the ISL this season when he came on as a substitute against FC Pune City. After the Stallions had completely dominated the first half, it was Keziron's introduction that turned things around for the Blasters as his laid a perfect defence-splitting ball that Pekuson crossed to find Sifneos, which bought Kerala Blasters back in the game.
RM: Ashique Kuruniyan (FC Pune City)
The Malappuram-born lad had an unfortunate start to the new year in 2017, suffering a hamstring injury and after training in Spain for four months, he had to return to India in February 2017. But he did not allow this to affect his confidence and was promoted to the senior side of FC Pune City by coach Ranko Popovic after impressing in training. After scoring his 1st ever goal for FC Pune City in the ISL, he continued his bright form for the Stallions combining in a perfect 1-2 move with Marcelinho that proved to be FC Pune City's only goal in an entertaining 1-1 draw against the Blasters.
LM: Sunil Chhetri (Bengaluru FC)
Bengaluru FC had been winless in their last two Home games and it was the captain, Leader, legend & now now husband, Sunil Chhetri, who scored a belter to give the Blues their first 3 points of 2018. He was busy on the wings managing 2 crosses and also put his body on the line in defence managing a block to his name.
FW: Thiago Santos (Mumbai City FC)
Mumbai City FC stretched their unbeaten away run to three games thanks a brace from Thiago Santos in their last game against Jamshedpur. He was ruthless in front, scoring a brace from just 2 shots he took in the entire game, with one of them being a goal of the season contender as he skipped past a couple of defenders before scoring past the helpless Subrata Paul.
FW: Jeje Lalpekhlua (Chennaiyin FC)
The Mizo Sniper celebrated his 27th birthday on the same date as the match against the Dynamos. He lit up the Marina Arena as he scored twice inside 15 minutes to overturn a 1-0 deficit and it looked like he earned all 3 points for the Super Machans before Guyon Fernandez spoiled the party late in the game, producing a late equaliser.
FW: Izu Azuka (Jamshedpur FC)
If Jamshedpur FC want to keep their hopes alive for the playoffs, their fans should pray for Azuka to continue his form. After all, he has scored 3 of their four goals this season. He was on song against Mumbai City FC, managing 5 shots to his name and also creating two chances apart from scoring twice.