Mumbai City dominates ISL Team of the Fortnight

Sportstar picks its ISL XI of the fortnight January 4-17.

Amrinder Singh has taken his game to a new level and has now kept seven clean sheets this season, three more than in the previous one.   -  ISL / Sportzpics

With four representatives, table-topper Mumbai City FC dominates our Indian Super League (ISL) team of the fortnight and forms its spine. The Islanders have been undefeated in their last 10 matches and look the favourites to clinch the AFC Champions League spot. Much of the team’s successful run is owing to its water-tight defensive unit, which has conceded the least number of goals (four) so far.

Amrinder Singh has taken his game to a new level and has now kept seven clean sheets this season, three more than in the previous one. His saves against Hyderabad FC were crucial in Mumbai maintaining its unbeaten run, and he has also played his part in building moves from the back with his passing ability. His teammate Mourtada Fall is the only natural central defender in our 3-4-3 system.

Podcast: From coaching changes and how they are impacting the side to a certain rant from one of the biggest names in the league, the last week in ISL action has been dramatic to the say the very least. Shyam Vasudevan and Aashin Prasad are joined by The Hindu's N Sudarshan to discuss the best and worst of the week of ISL action gone by. Listen in to The Full Time Show:


Fall struck the opening goal in the 3-1 win over Bengaluru FC, and he would be right to be miffed about his team being denied a third clean sheet in 15 days. Fall executed a clean tackle inside his own penalty box only for the referee to wrongly award a penalty from which Sunil Chhetri scored. Fall then went on to give another dominating performance against ATK Mohun Bagan in a top-of-the-table clash.

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Fall will be flanked by NorthEast United’s right-back Ashutosh Mehta and Hyderabad FC’s left-back Akash Mishra. Ashutosh has been among the better performers in NEUFC’s leaky defensive unit. The right-back has been defensively solid and has added attacking width down the flanks. He scored his first ISL goal in a 2-1 win over Jamshedpur FC with a powerful header. Mishra, 19, is going from strength to strength each week. Playing in his first ISL season, he has hardly looked out of place, and his performance against Mumbai City, where he helped earn a clean sheet, will add further confidence to his game.

 

FC Goa winger Alexander Romario and left-back Saviour Gama slot in as the wing-backs in our team. In a star-studded Goa attack, Romario has now established himself as a permanent fixture as the right-winger. He has significantly improved in recent games and is prominently involved in Goa’s attacking moves through the right. His superb work rate also enables him to track back the opposition wingers to help out his teammate. Gama, too, has seen a significant improvement in Goa’s five-match unbeaten run and was among the standout performers in the 1-1 draw against ATK Mohun Bagan.

Mumbai City’s Rowllin Borges is undoubtedly among the best Indian midfielders in the league. He is the only domestic player to feature in the list of the top 20 passers this season and he has kept Mumbai ticking along smoothly.

While Borges sits in front of the defence to shield the back four, he also possesses the range to pick out defence-splitting passes and also join attacks with his late runs into the box. NEUFC’s Federico Gallego will form his midfield partner as the key creative influence in our side. Despite missing a few games through injury, Gallego has managed to create more chances in attack than any other NEUFC player. His twin assists helped his side end a seven-match winless streak against Jamshedpur FC.

In attack, Mumbai City’s Bartholomew Ogbeche will lead the line as the No. 9. Ogbeche struck twice in three matches, most importantly the winner against ATK Mohun Bagan with what was his last touch of the game. He also came on as a substitute to score against Bengaluru FC. Jorge Ortiz, who plays as a winger for Goa, has been used as the false nine by his coach Juan Ferrando in recent matches due to an illness to Igor Angulo. And Ortiz has vindicated his coach’s decision by scoring twice in the win over Jamshedpur. His direct running and dribbling at pace have provided Goa with a new attacking dimension it lacked in previous matches. Hyderabad’s Liston Colaco makes the team purely for his stunning second-half cameo in the 4-2 win over NEUFC. Colaco provided two moments of brilliance late in the game to give his side the three points.