The Indian Super League’s season 8 is in an embryonic stage, but there have been some crackers already.
None more so than Odisha FC’s stunning 3-1 victory over Bengaluru FC; the Kalinga warriors first over the Blues. Defending champions Mumbai City also got off to a great start, as did ATK Mohun Bagan vanquishing the Blasters 4-2 in the season opener.
Here’s our Team of the Week in a 4-2-3-1 formation, incorporating the 4 foreigner rule:
Kamaljit Singh: The Odisha FC keeper sat out in favour of Arshdeep Singh last time around, but was a revelation in OFC’s opener against BFC. Pulled off some stunning saves, including a penalty from Sunil Chhetri.
Amey Ranawade: Continued where he left off last season as he put in a superlative display against the Gaurs. The Mumbai local lad hardly put a foot wrong as Saviour Gama barely got any change out of him all evening.
Hector Rodas: Appears to be the start of a promising partnership with Victor Mongil. Led the Odisha defence well, and was fantastic in linking up with the midfield.
Peter Hartley: Not an easy assignment for the Englishman first up. Had to deal with the twin threats of Daniel Chima and Antonio Perosevic but the JFC captain marshalled his troops well. Will be slightly disappointed not to get the win though.
Hira Mondal: A prized capture for East Bengal from Mohammedan in the summer and he seems to have settled well. Went up against an experienced campaigner in Len Doungel and shackled him.
Lalengmawia ‘Apuia’ Ralte: Not the best of displays from Apuia but a solid performance nonetheless. Kept things ticking over in midfield, and gave the Goan attackers no time or space to breathe.
Vinit Rai: The Sikkimese midfielder had a point to prove after a disappointing campaign last time around and he certainly showed up on opening night. With a 88% pass accuracy, he calmly guided young Thoiba Singh who started alongside him.
Sahal Abdul Samad: The Blasters lost but Sahal managed to bag a goal for himself. Controlled the ball calmly and slotted it past Amrinder. The Blasters fans will be hoping for Sahal to step his game up this season.
Cassio Gabriel: A superb introduction to the Indian Super League for the Brazilian, as he ran the show against FC Goa. Was the Islanders’ most creative player, and bossed proceedings in the hole. Will have a huge part to play as the season goes on. The choice between him and Javi Hernandez was difficult, but Cassio edges it due to the quality of the opposition and the fact that it was his first ISL match ever.
Liston Colaco: A golazo from Colaco marked the opening game as Liston kept Harmanjot Khabra on tenterhooks throughout the game. He was lively throughout, but his goal was well-taken as Albino Gomes had no chance with that top corner curler.
Igor Angulo: He just had to, didn’t he? Angulo was dropped from Goa’s ACL squad, and his contract wasn’t renewed but that didn’t stop him from putting his former team to the sword. A penalty that was drilled, was followed by a smart finish, as Angulo snuffed out Goa’s hopes of a comeback.