ISL 2023-24: Sportstar’s ISL team of the season

Sportstar’s ISL 2023-24 team of the season is strongly represented by Mohun Bagan and FC Goa.

Published : May 05, 2024 07:18 IST , CHENNAI - 4 MINS READ

Mohun Bagan’s Dimitri Petratos celebrates scoring a goal.
Mohun Bagan’s Dimitri Petratos celebrates scoring a goal. | Photo Credit: ISL Media

Mohun Bagan’s Dimitri Petratos celebrates scoring a goal. | Photo Credit: ISL Media

At the end of another Indian Super League (ISL) season, Sportstar takes a look back at some of the standout performers of the campaign.

While a typical ISL XI constitutes a four foreigner rule, our composition for the team of the season will have a six and five make up due to several outstanding overseas performers in key areas of the pitch.

We will structure the team in a 4-3-3 formation to provide a balance in both defence and attack.

Goalkeeper (Kaith)

The goalkeeping position will go to Mohun Bagan Super Giant’s Vishal Kaith, who after his heroics in the shootout last season went from strength-to-strength this season.

Kaith held the joint-record for most number of cleansheets (9) and made 50 saves overall. Mohun Bagan’s defence in the second half of the season was key to its run to the ISL Shield success and the ISL final, which included seven cleansheets.

Backline (Gupta-Delgado-Yuste-Bheke)

Kaith will be joined by his Bagan teammate Hector Yuste at the heart of the central defence alongside Odisha FC’s Carlos Delgado. Both Yuste and Delgado were integral members for their respective teams and were constant fixtures in the team Xis. Yuste and Delgado were adapt at snuffing out opposition attacks with their reading of the game with both recording 34 and 33 interceptions each. The duo were also among the highest passing defenders in the league, highlighting their ability to play out from the back.

The pair will be flanked by FC Goa’s Jay Gupta and Mumbai City FC’s veteran defender Rahul Bheke in the fullback role. Gupta has had a breakthrough season with the Gaurs with his flank-to-flank marauding runs and has a helluva left foot to caue all sorts of problems in the attacking third. His 30 chances created is the most for a defender and has two sensational strikes from distance in his CV already. While there are still some questions regarding his defensive side of the game, he has stoodout in the left-back role in his first full season.

Bheke, 11 years his senior, had probably one of his best campaigns in the top flight by easily slotting into both center-back and right-back roles for Mumbai City. His clinical shutting out of Goa’s Noah Sadaoui in the second leg of the playoffs will be remembered by the Mumbai faithful for years to come.

Midfield (Talal-Jahouh-Brandon)

Several overseas players come and go but not many match up to the genius and artistry of Ahmed Jahouh in central midfield. The Moroccan has now raised the level of all three teams he has been a part of over the course of seven seasons in the ISL with Odisha being the latest beneficiary as he continued to pull the strings from the midde of the park. His no-look pass in the lead up to Odisha’s matchwinner against Kerala Blasters in the knockout is alone worthy of the price of admission.

Jahouh will be ably suported by Brandon Fernandes and Madih Talal. It’s hard to imagine any team would take the ball away from the feet of Jahouh and Brandon, the passer in Indian football. After overcoming injuries, ISL and FC Goa saw the best of Brandon this season as the chief architect in the team’s midfield, while also scoring some crucial goals in the last leg of the competition.

Talal will provide a varied dimension with his trickery and ability to dribble past defenders from deep areas into attacking zones of the pitch. The ISL newcomer was instrumental in Punjab having a memorable season with his six goals and 11 assists – league high.

Attack (Sadaoui-Petratos-Chhangte)

The ISL is spoilt for plenty of attacking riches and it’s hard to choose just three. With honourable mentions to Dimitrios Diamantakos, Roy Krishna, Diego Mauricio, Jason Cummings and Armando Sadiku, the three-man forward line will comprise of Sadaoui, Petratos and Chhangte.

The trio have been the best players for their respective teams – Goa, Mohun Bagan and Mumbai City – and have spearheaded their attacks. Sadaoui and Chhangte are among the feared dribblers in the league and have the penchant for cutting in from the flanks and scoring from distance.

At the tip of the attack to round up the team will be Bagan’s Petratos, who was deservedly crowned the player of the season. Petratos has been the heartbeat of this Bagan side with his workrate, skill and sheer force to produce moments of magic out of nothing. The Aussie scored seven goals and set up six more in the second half of the competition to take the Mariners to the ISL Shield and the ISL final.

Compiled by Aashin Prasad

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