Mumbai City’s meteoric rise in this season of the Indian Super League (ISL) can be ascribed to a number of factors. Bringing Sergio Lobera on board is probably the most important of them, followed by the recruitment of players like Mourtada Fall, Hugo Boumous, Ahmed Jahouh, Mandar Rao, Adam Le Fondre and Bart Ogbeche who have all performed their roles with aplomb. However, one player who has slipped slightly under the radar but has been equally important for their imperious form is young Amey Ranawade.
The 22-year-old was roped in, almost as an afterthought, barely three weeks before the start of the season. The former East Bengal and FC Goa defender was initially considered to be a ‘decent’ backup for the up and coming Mohammed Rakip but his performances on the pitch have forced Lobera to rethink that narrative. After the first few matches where both of them were used interchangeably, the Mumbai boy made the position his own and has started the last seven games on the trot.
That eventually culminated in a man of the match performance last night against Chennaiyin FC wherein he garnered a match rating of 7.84, the highest amongst all the players on display. He ended the game with seven attempted tackles out of which three were successful, two successful interceptions, a blocked shot and three crosses and also created one goalscoring chance. The numbers further illustrate his growth in confidence over the course of a season in which the Islanders’ defensive stability has been as important as their exploits in front of goal.
He features in the top five list for both tackles and interceptions within the side with 34 and 18 of them respectively, having played less number of minutes than those ahead of him. He makes an average of 29 passes per game with an accuracy of close to 73% which is also indicative of how much he has been involved in his side’s build-up play from the back. Having given away just five fouls and seen three yellow cards in 805 minutes so far, this is another aspect of his game that has paved his way towards a secure starting spot.
With his contract up at the end of the season, the AIFF academy product and former Indian U17 and U19 international will be a free agent this summer. However, with the level that he has produced so far, you wouldn’t want to bet against Mumbai City extending his stay for the foreseeable future.