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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 three of the Indian Super League witnessed six home wins and no draws. The ISL is setting a standard of its own in the entertainment stakes as 13 goals were scored. Here are the top five Indian players from week 3 of the ISL, involving plenty of newcomers and one particular team dominating the selections.
Sunil Chhetri // 31 // Mumbai City // Striker: The India captain becomes the first Mumbai City player to feature in this weekly list as his three goals in two games propelled his side to their first wins of the season. Two composed and neat finishes against Delhi Dynamos were followed by an ice-cold penalty against Goa to set Mumbai off to back-to-back wins for the first time this season. Chhetri’s intelligent movement involved dropping short and running the channels, and he also played the full 90 minutes in both of Mumbai’s games in week three, scoring thrice from only five shots.
Sanju Pradhan // 26 // NorthEast United // Winger: The 26-year-old Sikkimese winger made instant impact in NorthEast United’s two wins in week three, as he, like Chhetri for Mumbai City, becomes the first player from NorthEast United to feature in this weekly list. Sanju came on from the bench in both of NorthEast’s games against Chennaiyin and Atletico de Kolkata, and had a hand in two of the three goals scored by his side in their last two games. Sanju’s two assists to Nicolas Velez sealed NorthEast’s first two wins of the season, and his growing rapport with Velez could mean plenty of headaches for opposition defences.
TP Rehenesh // 22 // NorthEast United // Goalkeeper: Keeping with this week’s trend of firsts, NorthEast’s TP Rehenesh is the first goalkeeper to feature in this weekly column. The 22-year-old produced a string of superlative saves against Atletico de Kolkata to keep the holders at bay, and was the one of the reasons why Atletico’s nine shots on target resulted in no goals. Rehenesh was dropped for NorthEast’s games against Pune City and Goa after conceding thrice in his first game, but has now come back into the side and vindicated his selection with two clean sheets in two games.
Eugeneson Lyngdoh // 29 // Pune City // Midfielder: Coming on the back of a Midfielder of the Year in the I-League, Lyngdoh was one of the star signings in this season’s draft. But the 29-year-old had endured an unimpressive campaign until he found his groove against Chennaiyin. Although Pune lost the game, Lyngdoh nearly inspired a comeback as his miscued shot led to Kalu Uche’s late goal which resulted in some late scrap by Pune City to rescue a point which eventually wasn’t enough.
Robin Gurung // 23 // NorthEast United // Full-Back: The third player from NorthEast featuring this week is Robin Gurung. Gurung celebrated his 23rd birthday last weekend, and delivered a performance worthy of a birthday gift to himself as his marauding runs down the left flank were involved in some of the best phases of attacking play from the Highlanders. Gurung, along with Cedric Hengbart, Rehenesh and Aiborlang Khongjee, have set a solid defensive base for NorthEast to finally find their feet in the campaign after a difficult start.
Written by Abhijit Bharali