In search of goals and victories, managers rarely dared to gamble with inexperienced or Indian personnel at vital positions in the lineup. Thus, a lot of players who came into the season with high expectations kept warming the bench throughout the period.
Even when players like Suresh Singh Wangjam and Sumit Rathi sealed a place for themselves in the starting lineups, many others kept waiting for playing time.
Here, we look at five players who deserved more game time this season, considering their positions and club's situation but had to watch from the lines for most of the time.
#5 Bikramjit Singh (Odisha FC)
Bikramjit Singh, with ample experience of playing all across India for outfits like Churchill Brothers, Mohun Bagan, FC Goa, ATK and Chennaiyin FC was a second-half substitute in Josep Gomabu's plans at Odisha FC.
The 27-year-old played six games this season, all coming in from the bench, and clocked 139 minutes. With five shots, nine tackles and six clearances, Bikramjit had no time on offer to settle into the campaign.
Vinit Rai and Marcos Tebar were the primary choices at the holding midfield position and, Bikramjit was a backup to the former on most occasions. Though the India international did a decent job before the backline, Gombau could have tested out Bikramjit too.
Given Odisha's dismal performance in defence, conceding 31 goals, reinforcement in the defensive third was expected from Odisha, at least towards the end of the campaign.
#4 Sahil Tavora (Hyderabad FC)
At a time when nothing worked out for Hyderabad FC, Phil Brown looked into his whole squad, except Sahil Tavora. The 24-year-old didn't play a single minute under Brown and came on as a substitute against Odisha FC, in the very first game after the Englishman's departure.
Sahil played two games this season, as an early substitute against Odisha, and started the next game, against Mumbai City. The former FC Goa player had only 76 touches on the ball from 158 minutes and made 58 passes and eight tackles.
Rohit Kumar, Nikhil Poojary and Abhishek Halder were all tried and tested with different roles in the midfield, but rarely did such a call come for Sahil. After Hyderabad's early exit from playoff contention, the Goan-born midfielder surely deserved more time on the pitch to prove his worth.