Hero ISL 2016: Team of the Season
Hero Indian Super League 2016 saw some wonderful football from every nook and corner of the pitch. The forwards were hungry for goals, and seized opportunities with relish. The midfielders played their part to a tee, providing delightful balls for players plying their trade up front. The defenders were tough and resolute by narrowing down space to thwart opponent attackers and putting in strong tackles and key interceptions. The goalkeepers were alert and made plenty of smart and eye-catching saves, often single-handedly keeping their team in the game. Last but not least, the coaches played crucial roles, coming up with game-changing strategies and formations to give their respective teams the upper hand. Here indiansuperleague.com takes a look at the crème de crème of this year’s league - in short, the team of the season.
Amrinder Singh (Goalkeeper)
Mumbai City FC’s shot-stopper Amrinder Singh made a late entry into the league due to his AFC Cup participation. He only played six matches for the Mumbaikars but showcased some brilliant skills between the sticks. The 23-year-old had an incredible five clean sheets to his credit, and landed the Golden Glove award hands down.
Souvik Chakraborty (Right-back)
Souvik Chakraborty played each and every minute for Delhi Dynamos FC this season. A tough defender to outwit, the 25-year-old was always on his toes and alert to any lurking danger. Chakraborty had the second highest number of tackles (76) and also the second highest number of interceptions (31) in the league this season.
Lucian Goian (Centre-back)
Undoubtedly one of the stand-out defenders in the league, Romanian Lucian Goian was one of the major reasons behind Mumbai City FC boasting the best defence in the league with nine clean sheets. The 33-year-old was a hard nut to crack and made sure opposition attackers did not get much space to utilise. He put in the highest number of tackles (79) and interceptions (34) in the league this year. The tall centre-back was also good in the air and managed to hit the back of the net once.
Cedric Hengbart (Centre-back)
Kerala Blasters FC’s ever-reliant centre-back was always at hand in defence. His performances were solid and he made important tackles and interceptions all over the park. He was also pretty useful during aerial duels and proved to be dangerous during set-pieces. The Frenchman had a goal and three assists to his name and was instrumental in his team’s run to the final.
Jerry Lalrinzuala (Left-back)
One of the youngest players at the age of 18, Chennaiyin FC’s Jerry Lalrinzuala caught the eye immensely. A resolute left-back, he was pretty quick with the ball at his feet and his speedy bursts on the left flank were an added advantage. His attacking exploits resulted in him creating a number of chances for his team. He had a goal and two assists to his name and when he was defending, his tackling and interceptions were impressive. That he won the ISL-Emerging-Player-of-the-Year award surprised no one.
CK Vineeth (Right-winger)
Kerala Blasters FC’s top scorer CK Vineeth showed superb touch during the course of the league. The 28-year-old joined late owing to his AFC Cup participation but that did not deter his prolific scoring form as he went on to become the top-scoring Indian with five goals this season. Vineeth was always quick to pounce on any opportunity that came his way and was an immense influence in Kerala’s road to the final.
Javi Lara (Central midfielder)
Atlético de Kolkata’s midfield maestro Javi Lara was undoubtedly their main player pulling the strings from the middle of the park. He was ATK’s go-to man in set-pieces, and more often than not provided some delicious balls for his attackers. His quick and intelligent runs and pinpoint passing caused a lot of problems for opposition teams. Lara scored a total of three goals this season, and was a key player in Kolkata’s title-winning campaign.
Krisztian Vadocz (Central midfielder)
Mumbai City FC’s midfield engine Krisztian Vadocz was sharp in attack and creating a host of chances. He scored important goals besides performing defensive duties to a tee. The 31-year-old’s all-round capabilities made him an asset for the Mumbaikars. The Hungarian ended his season with three goals and proved to be one of the important players for Alexandre Guimaraes’ men.
Florent Malouda (Left-winger)
Hero ISL 2016’s Hero of the League, Florent Malouda played some scintillating football for Delhi Dynamos FC this season. The 36-year-old worked tirelessly from the left flank and was instrumental in Delhi’s amazing attacking display that saw them score 29 goals, highest by any team this season. The wily winger outfoxed opposition defenders with ease and easily found his way through the backline. With three goals and five assists this year, the Frenchman had another good season for the Lions.
Iain Hume (Forward)
ATK’s talisman up front, Iain Hume was a major influence in the team’s tilte-winning campaign this season. The 33-year-old bagged seven important goals, which also made him the second-highest goal scorer this season, and overall highest scorer in the history of the league (23 goals). The Canadian scored a crucial brace in the home leg of the semi-final against Mumbai City FC, a team that possessed the best defence and an unbeaten goalkeeper till that point.
Delhi Dynamos FC striker Marcelinho was in a league of his own. The 29-year-old played for the first time in the Hero ISL but took to it like a duck to water. The Brazilian, with his lightning pace and decisive finishing, left opposition defenders bewildered. He almost scored at will and often turned provider, displaying some amazing football throughout. Marcelinho scored a total of 10 goals and notched up 5 assists, and rightfully picked up the Golden Boot award.
Jose Molina (Head coach)
ATK’s mastermind Jose Molina was instrumental in his team’s trophy success. The 46-year-old was the brains behind each attack, defence and formations. He employed each strategy to perfection and made sure he had the right combination of players for each match. ATK were often hit by injuries and suspensions but the Spaniard always had right replacements up his sleeve. Under his tutelage, Kolkata lost just two matches en-route to their second title in three years.