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The Indian Super League had an encouraging start in its inaugural season. While this site would like to see more young Indian talents given a chance in the starting line-up, the presence of any Indian footballers taking the field alongside experienced professionals is encouraging. In this weekly mini-series, we take a look at the best Indian performers.
Week two of the Indian Super League saw 14 goals being scored at an average of more than two per game as Delhi Dynamos were the biggest movers in the table. The Dynamos’ two away wins at Pune and Kerala saw them move up to second in the table, while Pune City maintained their good start to the season with an important win over holders Atletico de Kolkata.
The remarkable statistic of the second season of the ISL is the low number of draws thus far. There have only been two draws in the entire competition. While week one saw the home teams rule the roost in terms of results, week two featured four away wins and only two home wins. Here are the best Indian players from week two of the Indian Super League:
Jackichand Singh // 23 // Pune City // Winger: The Indian international forward missed the opening week of the league through national team commitments but made quick amends as he scored the fastest goal of ISL season two when he netted a fine first-time finish past Atletico de Kolkata goalkeeper Juan Catalayud in Pune City’s 1–0 win. The pint-sized forward ended up on the losing side in his first start against Delhi Dynamos, but was a live-wire in Pune City’s attacking third.
Arata Izumi // 33 // Atletico de Kolkata // Striker: The Japanese-born Indian forward showed what exactly the Indian national team is missing as he combined intelligence with stone cold efficiency in front of goal to score in back-to-back games for Atletico de Kolkata. His quick reactions following a spill from Kerala Blasters’ goalkeeper Stephen Bywater meant Atletico took the lead early in their 2-1 win. Izumi’s exploits in front of goal has made the absence of marquee striker Helder Postiga somewhat irrelevant.
Robin Singh // 25 // Delhi Dynamos // Striker: The Indian international was the catalyst for Delhi Dynamos inflicting the first loss on Pune City. The lanky target man proved indefatigable as he played the full 90 minutes for Roberto Carlos’ Dynamos less than 24 hours after featuring for the national team against Oman in Muscat. Singh scored the opening goal via a fine header at the back post, and also led the line in a typical centre-forward’s display.
Mandar Rao Desai // 23 // Goa // Winger: The 23-year-old local lad has performed consistently well this season, and his endeavour was rewarded with his first goal for Goa in their 3–1 win over NorthEast United. Mandar Rao came on as a second half substitute and made an immediate impact as his 70th minute goal took the contest away from NorthEast and gave his side a two-goal cushion which was how the game eventually ended.
CK Vineeth // 27 // Kerala Blasters // Wing-Back: Another local lad, Kerala’s CK Vineeth, was one of the Blasters’ better performers in their 1-0 home loss to Delhi Dynamos. Vineeth, who generally plays as a winger or a wide forward, was at his dynamic best as he played as the left wing-back and was heavily involved in proceedings. The 27-year-old forced two saves from Dynamos’ goalkeeper Toni Doblas and had a goal chalked off for offside. He also got himself booked for upending Dynamos right-back Souvik in the dying stages.
Written by Abhijit Bharali