ISL 2017: Team of the week after Round 1
The season 4 of the ISL kicked off with a promise, the promise of unearthing new talent and taking Indian football to new heights. The new season didn't disappoint, there were no goals scored in the opening 205 minutes after which we saw 12 in the next 245 minutes. Now that the benchmarks are being set, let's take a look at the players who impressed us in the opening round of fixtures.
Subrata Paul (Jamshedpur FC)
The veteran of many battles was the standout player under the bar for Jamshedpur against his former side. His 4 saves in the game meant that he added another clean-sheet to his existing record of 13 clean-sheets, helping Jamshedpur FC take a point in their inaugural ISL game.
Pritam Kotal (Delhi Dynamos FC)
Delhi Dynamos made a statement of intent by signing the first choice Indian right back. He responded brilliantly with his overlapping runs which caused problems for the FC Pune City defence and also chipped in with an assist to Matias Mirabaje's goal. He was equally good at set-piece defending, guarding the right flank of the Delhi defence.
Abdul Hakku (NorthEast United FC)
The youngster from Kerala who aspires to become the next Anas Edathodika kicked off his ISL career in perfect fashion, starting in NorthEast United's 0-0 draw against Jamshedpur FC. He helped his side keep a clean-sheet, and was a man to watch at the heart of defence with his aerial prowess and the ability to read the game. His no nonsense approach meant that he managed a massive 5 clearances in the game. He will look to cement a place in the defence following an impressive debut.
Sandesh Jhingan (Kerala Blasters FC)
The minister of defence for the national side was given the armband by Rene Meulensteen following impressive and dominant displays in pre-season and the Punjabi lad did justice to his role by putting up a fighting display against the lineup that had the likes of Kuqi and Zequinha and the physical Robin Singh, who was introduced in the 2nd half.
Keegan Pereira (ATK)
The lanky Mumbaikar was signed back by ATK for ISL 2017/18 after playing just 6 matches in ISL 2016. The left-footer had won 2 I-League titles under the current technical director of ATK Ashley Westwood and was signed by the Englishman in the draft for ISL 2017/18. The left-back responded brilliantly by not allowing Kerala's star man Vineeth any time on the ball and also provided another dimension to ATK's attacks down the left flank.
Marcinho (NorthEast United)
Marcinho was one of NorthEast United’s star performers in their goalless draw with Jamshedpur FC. He controlled NorthEast’s midfield using his technique and range of passing. The Brazilian attempted 49 passes, the most by any player in the match despite playing just 75 minutes.
Vinit Rai (Delhi Dynamos FC)
The 20-year-old was starting for a 5th club in his short career and seemed to have a composure of an established international. He pulled the strings in the midfield for the Lions and was ever present in their build up from the back, managing 71 passes at an astonishing accuracy of 92%. He broke up play when required and also acted an additional foil in defence allowing the other midfielders to push up and add numbers to attack.
Lallianzuala Chhangte (Delhi Dynamos FC)
The second youngest goal scorer for Indian national team was starting his first ever game in the ISL, and made a statement by becoming the youngest Indian to score and assist in the same ISL game. He was the lynch-pin to Delhi Dynamos' fortunes, crossing for the first goal and later adding one after a lapse in the FC Pune City defence.
Mandar Rao Dessai (FC Goa)
The tricky winger had a season 3 to forget but kicked off season 4 in style managing a goal and an assist in the first game. It was the 3rd goal he scored for FC Goa which proved to be the deciding factor in FC Goa taking away all 3 points. He was busy all evening creating 5 chances and wreaking havoc in the Chennayin defence.
Sunil Chhetri (Bengaluru FC)
Captain, leader, legend and now husband, Sunil Chhetri managed his 50th goal for Bengaluru FC in the dying moments of the game after a defensive lapse by Mehrajuddin Wadoo. He created ample of chances down the left, giving a torrid time to Sanju Pradhan and the Mumbai City FC defence, creating three chances in the game.
Coro (FC Goa)
He became ISL season 4's first goal scorer, when he latched on to a pass from Brandon Fernandes after a beautiful one-two and slotted it past the onrushing Karanjit. It was a treat to watch with his pace and ability to run behind the opposition defenders.