Ever since a 0-1 loss in its opening match of the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) to NorthEast United FC (NEUFC), Mumbai City FC (MCFC) hasn’t put a foot wrong in the tournament. The side has scored the most goals (17) and conceded the fewest (four) in the ongoing season so far.
While the club’s attackers and defenders have gained applause from all quarters, MCFC’s defensive midfielder Rowllin Borges has been the main wrecker-in-chief for the table-topper. The former NEUFC player with 33 Indian national team caps has been at his absolute best this edition.
Borges, who has completed 90 minutes in all but three games in ISL 2020-21 so far, was phenomenal during the Islanders’ wins against Kerala Blasters FC, Bengaluru FC and ATK Mohun Bagan (ATKMB) in the new year, and his partnership with Ahmed Jahouh and Raynier Fernandes has been a major reason for the opposition’s downfall.
In fact, Borges has arguably been the best passer in the league, with a success rate of 84.16 percent, which is better than even the likes of FC Goa skipper Edu Bedia (80.34 percent), Bengaluru star Dimas Delgado (75) and Jahouh (77.98). The 28-year-old Indian midfielder has hardly misplaced a pass during his team’s victories in 2021. He made life miserable for the Blasters, Bengaluru and ATKMB forwards with his timely interceptions and tackles as well.
Borges’ disciplined nature on the field, committing way fewer fouls than Jahouh, increases his worth even more. He leads the list for most interceptions (39) this season, while staying behind only Bedia when it comes to the most passes and touches.
MCFC was neutralised by Hyderabad FC in its most recent goalless draw, during which Sergio Lobera’s men failed to score a goal for the first time in nine ISL outings. But Borges made his presence felt by vocally leading his teammates on till the final whistle.
With Borges in the midfield, MCFC manager Lobera has a reliable commander who can help his team stay at the top of the standings and frustrate its title rivals.
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