Best Indian Players of ISL 7
The Indian Super League Season recently concluded there were some fine performances by Indians for various teams. We look at the best Indian players of ISL 7 who impressed with their quality and consistency.
Bengaluru FC suffered a disappointing season in which Bengaluru FC struggled and failed to make the top 4 for the first time in ISL. However, evergreen Sunil Chhetri continued to perform and lead by example. The Indian Captain scored 8 goals and was once again the top scoring Indian in ISL 7, Chhetri was also the highest scorer for Bengaluru FC, despite the presence of much bigger names. Overall, the 36-year-old Chhetri has scored 47 goals in ISL history, only 1 behind all-time top scorer Coro.
Bipin Singh’s transformation from an inconsistent winger to a game changer was a delight to watch. Bipin became the first player in ISL 7 to score a hattrick against Odisha which helped Mumbai thrash Odisha 6-1 and kept their hopes of finishing top of the table alive. Overall, the winger scored 6 goals, including a winner in the final, among Indians only Chhetri scored more in ISL 7. The 25-year-old also provided 4 assists. The Manipur born Bipin finished with 10 goal contributions, joint most by an Indian in ISL 7. The fleet footed winger completed 22 crosses, most by a player in ISL 7.
Manvir Singh was another player who came of age in ISL 7. The forward regularly made game changing interventions for ATK Mohun Bagan. The tricky forward scored 6 goals, among Indians only Chhetri scored more in ISL 7. Manvir contributed 9 (6 goals, 3 assists) goals, 3rd most by an Indian in ISL 7. Manvir’s 3 assists are the 2nd most by an ATKMB player in ISL 7. Most of Manvir’s goals have been spectacular, against East Bengal Manvir dribbled past 2 players and scored, against Hyderabad Manvir dribbled past 3 players, against Odisha also Manvir scored 2 fine goals, it was the same against Hyderabad wherein Manvir scored a well taken goal, highlighting the Punjab’s ability to conjure up something out of nothing.
Saviour Gama impressed both offensively and defensively for FC Goa in their run to the semifinals ably replacing the void left by long serving Mandar who left for Mumbai City FC. The 23-year-old scored a superb solo goal in the semi final first leg against Mumbai City FC. The left back provided 3 assists, the most by a defender in ISL 7, his 4 goal contributions were also the joint most by a defender in ISL 7. Saviour Gama’s 17 shots were also most by an Indian defender in ISL 7. The Goan native had 38 successful tackles, most by a FC Goa player in ISL 7 and the most by a defender in ISL 7. Saviour Gama’s 37 interceptions were also the most by a FC Goa player in ISL 7 highlighting his reading of the game.
Apuia was the youngest captain in ISL history for NorthEast United and the midfielder led from the front in NorthEast United’s run to the semifinals winning the Emerging player of ISL 7 award in the process. While the focus was mostly on the likes of Brown, Gallego and Machado, Apuia was an unsung hero for NorthEast United. Apuia made 46 interceptions, most by a NorthEast player; only 5 players made more interceptions in ISL 7. The 20-year-old made 50 successful tackles, most among Indian midfielders and only 1 player had more successful tackles in ISL 7. Apuia’s tackle success rate of 53.76% was the best among the top 10 tacklers in ISL 7. The emergence of Apuia’s emergence is a vindication of NorthEast United’s focus on promoting the youth.
Honorable Mentions include Halicharan Narzary, Akash Misra, Sandesh Jhingan, Ishan Pandita and Amrinder Singh.