From brilliant Elano to relentless Mulder: ISL's team of the year 2014
ISL witnessed a good mix of Indian and foreign players working in unison and giving their best for the respective franchises. But there were players who stood out and were consistent throughout the tournament. Here's a look ISL's team of the year.
Atletico de Kolkata beat Kerala Blasters FC 1-0 in the final of the Indian Super League to lift the maiden ISL title. The two-month football carnival saw some breathtaking goals, crunching tackles, dazzling trickery and amazing creativity. The tournament witnessed a good mix of Indian and foreign players working in unison and giving their best for the respective franchises. But there were players who stood out and were consistent throughout the tournament. Here's a look ISL's team of the year.
Edel Bete: The 28-year-old Atlético de Kolkata goalkeeper enjoyed a fantastic season in India, especially towards the end. He managed three clean sheets in the final three knockout games, and has pulled off some of the best saves of the tournament.
Sandesh Jhingan: Indian football's next big thing — he was arguably the best Indian player in the ISL, and his performances were characterized by his incredible composure, strength and maturity. Jhingan, still only 21, was Kerala Blasters’ and probably the ISL’s most consistent player.
Colin Falvey: Jhingan's partner in defence was Irishman Colin Falvey. The burly center half formed the crux of Kerala's backline. On most days, nothing got past him.
Arnab Mondal: The 26-year-old was a rock in defence alongside Spanish veteran Josemi, who recently said Arnab had the necessary quality to play abroad. Atletico de Kolkata’s coveted player can be put in the ‘ball-playing defender’ category.
Narayan Das: The 21 year old Goan left back, like Jhingan, was exceptional. He was always a threat going forward, and didn't have any problems doubling back from up-field to defend against the oppositions' counter attacks. With Das in FC Goa’s XI, Zico could play Andre Santos in attack.
Hans Mulder: One of those midfielders who will always be at your shadow. We’ve got him in the playing XI instead of Borja Fernandez because of his relentless box-to-box role and goalscoring abilities. He pops up at the right place at the right time and his three goals were vital in Delhi Dynamos’ late charge.
Harmanjot Khabra: The Chennaiyin FC and East Bengal midfielder had a fantastic first season. Just like Mulder, he also had something of a box to box role in midfield, and did full justice to it, as he constantly bombed forward and tracked back without breaking a sweat.
Debabrata Das: The right back showed tremendous quality on the right side of Goa's defence. His pacy, energetic runs and intelligent overlaps were always a joy to watch. In the 3-4-1-2 system chosen for this XI, it’s vital to have quality fullbacks.
Elano: The Brazilian wizard was the most entertaining player to watch. His ball control in tight spaces, crisp, pinpoint passes and outstanding goalscoring form were crucial for Chennai.
Iain Hume: The best forward in the ISL. His attitude towards football has made him an instant fan favorite. He always chased lost causes and made defenders pay heavily for minor lapses in concentration. Scored five goals and set up three for his teammates. His work rate gets him a nod ahead of Fikru Teferra.
Romeo Fernandes: It'd be criminal to exclude him from this lineup. Although he predominantly featured on the right flank for Goa, he's shown that he's more than capable to play up front. His strength, pace, and ability to finish off chances always kept defenders on their toes.
Substitutes: Anwar Ali, Borja Fernandez, Fikru Teferra, TP Rehenesh, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Bruno Cirillo, John Mendoza.
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