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ISL 2019-20 | Team of the “weak” after Game Phase 1

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ISL 2019-20 | Team of the “weak” after Game Phase 1

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SportsCafe Desk

11/04/2019

The Indian Super League has finished one game phase, which has seen all the teams playing two matches each at least. And we have tried to cherry-pick the weak performers from every position, until October 31, which has unfolded quite well and would have made a good side had they started firing.

Goalkeeper

Kamaljit Singh - Being made the skipper of the side, Kamaljit has already looked under pressure leading his side Hyderabad FC. They have shipped in as many as eight goals in the first two matches they have played and the one against ATK saw the custodian missing many easy gloves. With the side designed to soak in more pressure and then attack the counter has also made life difficult for Kamaljit as well.

Defenders

Mathew Kilgallon - Hyderabad had been the worst side in the league after the first twelve league games and the underperformance of the big centre-half was one of the biggest reasons. Having played for sides like Leeds United, Blackburn Rovers, Sunderland, Middleborough, and more, the 35-year-old was tailor-made for Phil Brown’s British style of play. However, whether it’s his age or life in India, but the enforcer has been average at best.

Pratik Chowdhary - Brought in from Jamshedpur FC, where he had a decent end to the season last time despite his side unable to end in the top four, the Indian centre-half looked quite promising and more importantly, there was a scope for improvement under a predominantly defensive mindset of Jorge Costa. And he got his chance earlier than expected as Mato Grgic was injured in Mumbai City FC’s very first match. But, Pratik hasn’t lived up to the expectations and his proclivity to commit early tackles has found Mumbai in dangerous situations.

Ashique Kuruniyan - More than Raphael Augusto, Bengaluru FC fans were more excited about the Indian forward who had shown sparks of his brilliance on the left flank in national colours already. Carles Cuadrat starting him as a wing-back also looked exciting in the first two quarters, to be honest, but then it faded. He has been seen going out of steam repeatedly and one such moment even saw him making a mess of clearance inside the box against FC Goa. It denied Bengaluru their first win of the season.

Shubham Sarangi - if there is any player, who has been playing with the boulders of expectations on his shoulders, it has been Sarangi. The full-back, after his previous franchise became Odisha FC, has been found lacking decision making skill on the right flank. The expectation to show something become the only regular from Odisha in an ISL franchise is evident and while he would become calmer with every passing game, Odisha are also winless after two matches.

Midfielders

Adil Khan - Adil Khan has been one of those extreme players for both his country and club. He could single-handedly win you the match one day while make grave errors to lose the game the other. Playing in the central defensive midfield, Hyderabad have always found a player missing at the centre of their penalty box while defending counter-attacks. The reason has been Adil Khan’s affinity to up at every instance. While his work rate is not questionable, his game reading abilities are.

Sergio Cidoncha - He was brought in from JFC along with Mario Arques after the duo looked petrifying for opponents with their sharp passing and pace on counter attacks for Cesar Ferrando. However, it seems they could only work when put together. With Arques injured now and seemingly out for a long time, Cidoncha has lost his way with Eelco Schattorie’s strategies going nowhere. He is often been seen subbed in the third quarter.

Rafael Crivellaro - Not only the name of his predecessor that he is burdened with but the Brazilian has also struggled to adapt to the pace of the Indian Super League, something not envisioned. The attacking midfielder has been seen fluffing chances from crucial positions of the field and during important time of games. Coach John Gregory has often seen frustrated at the sidelines with his decision making in the attacking third. 

Forwards

Dragoș Firțulescu - While it is difficult to predict what future holds for the Romanian international, but his performances in the first two matches for Chennaiyin FC have been dismal, to put it mildly. It is as if Gregory has pulled off another Carlos Salom from the bag, who could impose himself physically at best. Dragos hasn’t been seen running into good positions or getting the game faster when needed. He has been seen fouling opponents more and taking harmless shots from distance.

Prasanth Karuthadathkuni - Whether its lack of better options on the right flank or Schattorie seeing some hidden aura in the winger, but Prasanth Karuthadathkuni did get quite some time in a top-quality side. Whether he would get better with games is unpredictable but he has shown no qualities of being in the front three for the Blasters. With a passing accuracy of 56% from positions where he could have done potential damage in the opponents’ half, he has been quite below average so far. 

Sunil Chhetri - The biggest surprise of them all but the captain, leader, legend has done absolutely nothing in the first two matches for Bengaluru FC. And it’s not as if he didn’t get chances. Flanking Manuel Onwu alongside Udanta Singh, the Indian national team skipper is often getting into good positions but missing sitters. With BFC playing a counter-attacking game which involves both their wingers immensely, as well as their wingbacks, Chhetri has got numerous chances to get on the score sheet, especially with his headers – something he is actually good at. 

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