ISL 2017: Team of the week after Round 2
Round 2 of the Indian Super League saw a massive 16 goals scored in five matches, including a shock result which saw the defending champions ATK being thrashed in their own backyard.
Here's a look at the best XI after a busy weekend of matches:
Paul Rachubka (Kerala Blasters)
The Manchester United academy product wasn't really tested in the opening game against ATK but he was kept busy against Jamshedpur FC in the last match, which included a save of the tournament contender when he tipped away Belfort's header in the dying minutes of the game to deny the Men of Steel all three points. He is yet to concede in the tournament so far.
Harmanjot Khabra (Bengaluru FC)
Known for this no-nonsense attitude, the Punjab-born defender had a great game in defence for Bengaluru. He not only kept the sensational Lallinzuala Chhangte quiet but also contributed in attack for Bengaluru FC's first goal when he assisted Paartalu's header. He made sure that Bengaluru kept their record of not conceding from open play intact in ISL 2017.
Sandesh Jhingan (Kerala Blasters)
The Minister of Defence, Sandesh Jhingan was a rock at the back for Kerala Blasters, keeping the dangerous Belfort at bay and also helping the team buildup for attack with his ball-playing abilities. He managed a massive 77 passes in that game and was alert to the danger, clearing the ball out from his own box a mammoth six times.
Shouvik Ghosh (Jamshedpur FC)
The former Pailan Arrows captain Shouvik Ghosh had a night to remember in Kochi as he managed to keep the ever-threatening Vineeth quiet throughout the game. His ability to tackle danger meant that he ended up with eight clearances and also added another dimension to the attack, notching up a couple of crosses.
Erik Paartalu (Bengaluru FC)
The Australian international has been the heart of the Bengaluru midfield since their run to the AFC Cup inter-zonal final where they lost to Istiklol FC. He broke up play in the midfield, and was always a threat on set pieces with an height of 6 ft 4 in. He displayed his aerial prowess against the Dynamos, scoring twice.
Rohit Kumar (FC Pune City)
The Delhi-born Rohit Kumar, who had previously played for DSK Shivajians, has had a mixed start to his first ever stint in the ISL. After failing to impress in Pune's opening game, he popped up with a crucial header after Pune had conceded through a Bipin Singh freekick. His goal brought back the confidence with the Stallions going on score two more, which meant that ATK conceded 4 goals in a match for the first time in ISL history!
Raphael Augusto (Chennaiyin FC)
The Brazilian has been a lynchpin in Chennaiyin FC's fortunes over the past couple of seasons and once again displayed why he is rated so highly by the Super Machans. It was his first effort that deflected off Abdul Hakku which gave Chennaiyin the lead over the Highlanders and he went on to seal the victory for Chennaiyin scoring his second as he slotted past Rehenesh in the 24th minute. He has scored in both of Chennaiyin's matches.
Marcelinho (FC Pune City)
The Golden Boot winner from last season had a silent opener against the Dynamos but he proved his class against ATK. He had a role to play in every goal which Pune scored in the 4-1 thrashing. He scored the opener and then curled a corner off which Rohit scored. He then set up Alfaro for Pune's third before scoring the fourth off a deflected effort. He has directly contributed to five of Pune six goals in ISL 2017.
Bipin Singh (ATK)
The Shillong Lajong academy product had an ISL debut to remember. Not only did he give a tough time to Chhuantea Fanai down the right flank, managing a massive 8 crosses in the match, but also curled in a perfect free kick to bring ATK back in the game.
Emiliano Alfaro (FC Pune City)
The top scorer for NorthEast United in ISL 2016 has started the new season in perfect fashion for FC Pune City, scoring in both their opening games. But he was in form against ATK, setting up Marcelinho for FC Pune City's opening goal and scoring Pune's third in the second half.
Mohammad Rafi (Chennaiyin FC)
For a goal machine like Rafi, even an inch of space is enough. After being introduced in the second half, he was lively with his runs and finally had his say on the game when he scored his seventh ISL goal. Interestingly, six of those have come off his head, making him the top headed goal scorer in ISL history!