Sportskeeda's ISL 2023-24 Team of the Season: Mohun Bagan SG, Mumbai City FC, and FC Goa players dominate; Roy Krishna misses out

Mohun Bagan SG
Mohun Bagan SG's Dimitri Petratos won the ISL Golden Ball (Image Credits: ISL Media)

Another thrilling Indian Super League (ISL) campaign has drawn to a close, with a notable twist this time around. Mumbai City FC, who dominated the ISL Shield title race last season, surrendered their crown to Mohun Bagan SG.

However, the Mariners, who beat Bengaluru FC to clinch the ISL Cup last season, suffered a defeat to Mumbai City FC, who got their revenge against the newly crowned champions.

The 2023-24 campaign will be fondly remembered for various reasons, starting with Punjab FC’s arrival at the top tier, marking the first promotion from the I-League to the ISL.

This season also proved to be one of the most fiercely competitive in ISL history, with five teams occupying the top spot at different stages, which concluded with a thrilling finale on the final day in front of a packed stadium in Kolkata.

From memorable comebacks to stunning goals and individual brilliance, the 10th year of the ISL had it all. And as tradition dictates, it is now time to unveil Sportskeeda’s team of the season (Formation: 4-4-2).


Goalkeeper

Debjit Majumder (Chennaiyin FC)

Things certainly haven’t gone Debjit’s way in the past few seasons, as he lost his number-one spot to Samik Mitra last season. However, Owen Coyle turned to Debjit’s experience, and he unquestionably repaid his faith.

Chennaiyin FC conceded the second-highest goal tally in the league, but the 36-year-old goalkeeper made several crucial saves that kept his team in games and ultimately secured their place in the playoffs. His saves, particularly during the final stretch of the season, were a major factor in Chennaiyin’s success.

Overall, he ranked third in the league for most saves (58) despite playing only 18 games and had the second-best save percentage of 73.4, with only Amrinder Singh recording more.

Honorable mention: Phurba Lachenpa (Mumbai City FC)


Defenders

Rahul Bheke (Mumbai City FC)

Bheke may not have been a headline-grabber for his defensive abilities, but that’s precisely what makes him a crucial component in Mumbai City FC’s winning machine. His consistency, combined with his leadership qualities, has established him as an indispensable asset, particularly since Petr Kratky took over.

In addition to his resolute defending, Bheke has shown versatility by seamlessly playing the right and left-sided center-back roles, in addition to his customary right-back duties. His performance in the final against Liston Colaco capped off a brilliant season, where he ended up lifting the ISL trophy.

Odei Onaindia (FC Goa)

While Bheke may not have been one to dominate the headlines, Odei Onaindia certainly did. The Spaniard served as FC Goa’s backbone throughout the season, delivering numerous crucial blocks and clearances that were instrumental in securing several 1-0 victories.

After Sandesh Jhingan was ruled out of the season, Onaindia led a youthful backline featuring Nim Dorjee and Jay Gupta. He ranked third in the league for most clearances this season (94), trailing only Punjab FC’s Dimitros Chatziisaias and East Bengal’s Hijazi Maher.

Subhasish Bose (Mohun Bagan SG)

Subhasish Bose has always been a reliable defender, but he reached new heights this season. Despite Mohun Bagan experiencing a rough patch mid-season, Subhasish was one of the very few bright spots during that challenging period.

Following Antonio Habas’ arrival in January, replacing Juan Ferrando, the 29-year-old was deployed on the left side of a back three, a role in which he excelled.

From shutting down tricky attackers to making crucial interceptions and clearances in the penalty area, Subhasish has arguably been the ISL’s standout defender this season. He played a pivotal role in helping Mohun Bagan lift the ISL Shield.

Jay Gupta (FC Goa)

Jay Gupta came, saw the opportunity, and seized it with both hands. Under Manolo Marquez, Gupta enjoyed attacking freedom and repaid his manager’s trust by linking up brilliantly with the likes of Noah Sadoaui and Brandon Fernandes on the left flank.

His clutch performances, including a stunning strike against Odisha FC in stoppage time, are moments he will cherish, but he has shown consistent progression, which is a hallmark of a top-class player.

With two goals, two assists, and 30 chances created - the highest among defenders - Gupta’s debut season is undoubtedly one to remember.

Honorable mentions: Seriton Fernandes (FC Goa), Tiri (Mumbai City FC), Carlos Delgado (Odisha FC), Amey Ranawade (Odisha FC)


Midfielders

Ahmed Jahouh (Odisha FC)

Wherever Ahmed Jahouh goes, midfield dominance seems to follow. Odisha FC struck gold this season, and Jahouh emerged as the driving force behind their success, just as he did with FC Goa and Mumbai City FC.

This time around, he took it a step further. A glance at the passing statistics reveals Jahouh’s name consistently at the top. He has also excelled defensively, topping the charts for tackles won in the league, all while contributing two goals and four assists.

Beyond the numbers, Jahouh’s ability to pick out the right passes has been a standout feature, with ISL teams still struggling to find an answer.

Madih Talal (Punjab FC)

After a sluggish start to the season, Talal turned the corner and undoubtedly delivered one of the best ISL seasons by an attacking midfielder. He was unstoppable at times, whether it was his dribbling in tight spaces or his inch-perfect through balls and passes.

The Frenchman provided 10 assists, the highest by any player this season, and was the most fouled player in the league as well. His partnership with Wilmar Jordan Gil and Luka Majcen was a delight to watch, and he was the driving force behind Punjab’s resurgence in the second half of the season.

Questions persist about his future with Punjab, with reports suggesting East Bengal are set to sign him. But with six goals and 10 assists this season, he was undoubtedly in contention for the Golden Ball Award.

Manvir Singh (Mohun Bagan SG)

Like many of the Bagan players, Manvir didn’t start well but transformed into a completely different player under Habas. The Spanish coach deployed him in a wing-back role, a position he had previously played under Ferrando. However, it was his output that drastically improved this season.

With three goals and seven assists, Manvir showcased not only his attacking ability but also combined it with solid defensive work, which was crucial to the Mariners’ title-winning campaign. His work-rate, combined with his clinical ability in the final third, makes his selection a straightforward choice.

Lallianzuala Chhangte (Mumbai City FC)

Chhangte delivered when it counted the most. With ten goals and six assists by the end of the season, the 26-year-old was once again brilliant.

His impact on Mumbai City’s title-winning campaign was evident as he either scored or assisted in his last eight games, excluding the finals, where he still impressed despite not getting on the scoresheet.

Similar to Manvir Singh, selecting Chhangte for the team of the season was a clear choice, given his trickery and blistering pace, which were a joy to watch at times.

Honorable mentions: Puitea (Odisha FC), Carl McHugh (FC Goa), Vikram Pratap Singh (Mumbai City FC), Isak Vanlalruatfela (Odisha FC)


Forwards

Dimitri Petratos (Mohun Bagan SG)

Mohun Bagan’s talisman once again displayed why he is regarded as one of the best imports in the ISL. After scoring twice in last season’s final and winning the Golden Boot, Petratos went one better, clinching the ISL Shield and the Golden Ball this time around.

With 10 goals and seven assists to his name, the Australian once again rose to the occasion when Mohun Bagan needed him most.

He is the type of player who excels not only as a goal scorer but also as a playmaker, capable of dictating the play from deep positions or delivering killer passes. Overall, he had the highest combined tally of goals and assists this season, leaving no doubt about his inclusion in the team of the year once again.

Dimitrios Diamantakos (Kerala Blasters FC)

Kerala Blasters FC experienced a season of two halves, but one player’s performance remained consistent throughout. The Blasters had several injuries this season, particularly to their foreign players, and as a result, Diamantakos often carried the team on his shoulders.

With 13 goals and three assists in 17 games, only Petratos had more goal contributions than him. Choosing between him and Roy Krishna was a tough task, but considering Diamantakos winning the Golden Boot and his impact on the Blasters’ season in terms of sheer output, he ultimately gets the nod.

Honorable mentions: Roy Krishna (Odisha FC), Jason Cummings (Mohun Bagan SG)

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Edited by Ankush Das
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