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ISL 2020-21: Top 5 Indians who have stood out so far

ISL 2020-21: Top 5 Indians who have stood out so far
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The Bridge Desk

Published: 21 Dec 2020 7:27 AM GMT

On numerous occasions, Indian Super League (ISL) clubs have been criticised for not utilising their Indian pool of players. Teams and managements have been bashed for putting the emphasis on star foreign players and not giving enough opportunities to the domestic youngsters.

This season, however, the dynamic has shifted and although the likes of Roy Krishna, Igor Angulo and Adam Le Fondre have been hogging the limelight, some of the Indian youngsters have also been performing consistently.

Here we take a look at the top 5 Indian performers this season so far:

#5 Akash Mishra

Hyderabad FC’s young left back Akash Mishra has impressed one and all with his astute and composed defending this season. Right from matchday one he has been consistent and has made his place in the starting XI.

Not just defending, Mishra has been influential when attacking as well. While he is well known for his passing range and darting runs, his positioning sense helps him to get an advantage over the opposition.

And, the statistics show just how good he is. Mishra averages almost 60 touches and 3.5 tackles per game, 2 crosses per 90 minutes, and he is yet to receive a booking.

#4 Alexander Jesuraj

jesuraj Romario Jesuraj (Source FC Goa Media)

FC Goa’s Alexander Jesuraj has been a revelation this season. The young winger already has 3 assists to his name in just 6 appearances, and Juan Ferrando, quite obviously, has taken a liking to him.

Until last season, Jesuraj was plying his trade in the I-League but this season, he has been given an opportunity in the ISL, and it is safe to say that he is making it count. Goa’s squad and style of play means that he may not be starting every match, but whenever he has been brought on the pitch, he has shown what he is capable of.

It will be interesting to see how he performs as the season progresses, whether he can maintain his form and cement a place in the starting line up. But one thing is for certain, he does have all the ingredients.

#3 Sunil Chhetri

Bengaluru FC take on NorthEast United next in the ISL Sunil Chhetri training in Goa (Source: Twitter / Bengaluru FC)

Sunil Chhetri’s name on this list is quite easily the least surprising of all. For years, the Indian captain has persevered and stayed at the top, no mean feat. And this season as well, the story has been no different.

A big reason why Bengaluru FC are still unbeaten in the league is Chhetri. The 36-year-old is an obvious attacking threat for his team; additionally, he has a vital presence when his team is defending high up the pitch, pressing the opposition to force them to make mistakes.

In 6 appearances so far, Chhetri has already scored 3 important goals and has one assist. By the end of the season, he may very well finish as the league’s highest scoring Indian player, yet again.

#2 Liston Colaco

Liston Colaco has always shown promise but it is this season where he is truly making a case for himself as a worthy long-term replacement for Chhetri in the national team. At Hyderabad FC, the youngster has been terrific, whether he is starting a game or coming off the bench as an impact substitute.

liston-colaco Liston Colaco (Source: ISL)

In 6 appearances so far, most of which has been from the bench, he has got 2 assists already. However, the thing that has caught everyone’s attention is his rawness and courage when it comes to dribbling (the highlight of which was displayed in the clash against SC East Bengal).

There are many more matches to come, a majority of the season still remains to be played, and from the glimpses we have seen so far, Liston definitely has the qualities to spice his game up more. Will we see more goals from the Goan youngster?

#1 Rowllin Borges

Not many would have noticed but Mumbai City FC’s Rowllin Borges is right up there when it comes to the top Indian performers of the season so far. And, he has the numbers to back it up.

Borges currently leads the charts for the highest number of interceptions and is second, only behind Goa’s Edu Bedia, for the highest number of touches. These two stats show just how good the defensive midfielder has been in his role.

Additionally, the 28-year-old has also racked up a goal and an assist in seven appearances and is proving to be a vital cog in Sergio Lobera’s setup.

Noteworthy mentions: Asish Rai, Ninthoi Meetei, Manvir Singh

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