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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 four of the Indian Super League was the highest scoring week of the season thus far. With six games that involved a combined 21 goals, entertainment and excitement were never in short supply. Week four also saw two hat-tricks being scored, by Iain Hume and Sunil Chhetri as well as some memorable goalscoring displays which included braces from Mohammed Rafi and Kalu Uche.
Here are the top five Indian players from week four of the Indian Super League.
Sunil Chhetri // 31 // Mumbai City // Striker: The India captain showed what Mumbai City were missing at the start of the season as his stunning hat-trick against NorthEast United handed Nicolas Anelka’s men a comprehensive 5–1 win. Chhetri scored his fourth, fifth and sixth goals in last Tuesday’s win but was far less influential in Mumbai City’s home loss to Atletico de Kolkata on Sunday.
Mohammed Rafi // 33 // Kerala Blasters // Striker: Kerala Blasters are still propping up the bottom of the ISL standings, but Mohammed Rafi was in inspired mood against Pune City on Monday. However, the local lad’s two goals, which included a first minute strike, was not enough as Pune City’s superlative attacking threat meant Rafi’s contributions faded into irrelevance in the context of the result.
Anas Edathodika // 28 // Delhi Dynamos // Centre-Back: The Kerala-born 28-year-old was instrumental in the Dynamos’ 1–0 win over holders Atletico de Kolkata at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. Edathodika, who until the Atletico game had made the highest clearances among the Dynamos ranks in his four games, and alongside Roberto Carlos, held the Delhi defence tight after right-back Souvik was sent off.
Amrinder Singh // 22 // Atletico de Kolkata // Goalkeeper: The 22-year-old was in inspired form as defending champions Atletico de Kolkata arrested their three-game losing streak with an emphatic 4–1 win over in-form Mumbai City. Amrinder saved and parried Mumbai City attacks throughout the game, from Frederic Piquionne and Sony Norde to Nicolas Anelka; he was the key reason for Mumbai City’s 18 shots resulting in just a solitary goal.
Mandar Rao Desai // 23 // Goa // Winger: Goa’s young forward Mandar Rao Desai turned in a virtuoso performance against Pune City in a 1–1 stalemate. Mandar’s performance was one of the few bright spots from the match, as he provided width and incision from the left wing. The 23-year-old was a live wire, finding space in dangerous areas and creating goalscoring opportunities. His three shots, including one brilliantly saved by Steve Simonsen and another that hit the crossbar, and three crosses meant he was Goa’s most potent attacking threat against Pune City.
Written by Abhijit Bharali