The fifth edition of the Indian Super League was a surprise package, not only in terms of sides who punched above their weight but also in terms of players who performed well beyond expectations.
We are lining up with 3-4-1-2 formation, limiting the squad to just five overseas players as the rule of the league with no place for the likes of Miku, Edu Bedia, Bartholomew Ogbeche etc.
Here is a look at who made the cut:
Amrinder Singh (Mumbai City) – Goalkeeper
The Mumbai City shot-stopper recorded the most saves (61) for the second year running. Alongside the brawny Lucian Goian, Amrinder’s performance between the sticks was the reason why Mumbai City formed a reputation as one of the best defensive sides.
Rahul Bheke (Bengaluru FC) – Right-back
Although his Asian Cup snub had raised many eyebrows, Rahul Bheke capped off an incredible season with the goal in the final that clinched a first-ever ISL title for Bengaluru. His transition from a marauding right back to marshalling the defence at centre-back displayed his versatility.
Mourtada Fall (FC Goa) – Centre-back
The lanky defender was a revelation for the Gaurs at the back, helping them earn plaudits for their defence as much as their attack. Fall also displayed why he’s an attacking defender with four goals for Goa, matching the tally of midfielder Brandon Fernandes and winger Jackichand Singh.
Tiri (Jamshedpur) Left-back
A ball playing defender known for his quality to attack from the back, the Spaniard formed the core of Cesar Ferrando’s system at Jamshedpur.
Lallianzuala Chhangte (Delhi Dynamos) – Right wing
Alongside Soosairaj, Chhangte was among the shining stars in Delhi Dynamos’ unimpressive season under Josep Gombau. Having been offered a trial with Norwegian club Viking FK, the future looks bright for the 21-year-old.
Rowllin Borges (NorthEast United) – Midfielder
A reunion with Eelco Schattorie unlocked Borges’ true potential. Playing in a familiar box-to-box role, the former East Bengal man made a strong impact in both halves of the pitch and displayed why he was one of India’s best central midfielders.
Ahmed Jahouh (FC Goa) – Midfielder
A workhorse in midfield, Jahouh was the lynchpin for the most enterprising side in the league. His partnership alongside Lenny Rodrigues was key in helping Goa register the joint-highest clean sheets. The Moroccan’s short and long passing was a treat to watch.
Michael Soosairaj (Jamshedpur FC) – Left wing
Soosairaj caught the eye with his pace, dribbling and creativity and was one of the youngest emerging players in the league. If his performances for Jamshedpur are anything to go by, that India call-up is not far away.
Federico Gallego (NorthEast United) – Attacking midfielder
The Urugyuan playmaker was a key cog in NorthEast United’s dynamic system under Eelco Schattorie, where he formed a lethal partnership with striker Bartholomew Ogbeche. Despite ending the season with a horrific shin-bone injury, Gallego’s contribution in helping NorthEast reach their first-ever semi-finals cannot be understated.
Moudou Sougou (Mumbai City) – Striker
In just his maiden ISL season, Sougou showed everyone why Jorge Costa brought him to India. The striker scored the most goals for Islanders. The Senegalese netted two hat-tricks and was instrumental in guiding Mumbai City to the semi-finals.
Ferran Corominas (FC Goa) – Striker
No surprises here. The Spaniard won the Golden Boot award for the second year running. During the course of the season, Coro also became the leading goalscorer in the history of the Indian Super League, taking over from Ian Hume. The former Espanyol striker also finished second to Mumbai City’s Arnold Issoko in the chart for most assists (7).