A cut above the rest: Contenders for 2020-21 Hero ISL Golden Boot

The 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) witnessed its double round-robin league stage come to an end on Sunday evening. The business end of the season saw one thrilling match after another and eventually Mumbai City FC, ATK Mohun Bagan, NorthEast United FC and FC Goa beat the other seven teams to the top-four finish. And it’s no coincidence that three major contenders for the Golden Boot as of now belong to three of these semi-finalists -- only the Highlanders don’t have any real contender in the race with Luis Machado being their highest goal-scorer with seven goals. The trio’s performance has definitely been at the centre of their team’s road to the semi-finals. Here we take a look at these three players who are in the Golden Boot fray.

Roy Krishna (ATK Mohun Bagan)

The Fijian striker needs no introduction as even last year in ATK FC colours he narrowly lost the Golden Boot race to Nerijus Valskis (then with Chennaiyin FC). He and Bartholomew Ogbeche (then with Kerala Blasters FC) tied with the Lithuanian on 15 goals but they fell behind on the number of assists. It may be noted that this time there is a change in Golden Boot criteria and instead of assists, the number of minutes per goal (the lower the better) will come into play to decide the winner in case players are tied on goals.   

Krishna has scored 14 goals in 20 matches and after seeing a dry period, of late he is back to what he does best. He has scored eight goals in the last eight matches for the Mariners. After the league stage, his minutes per goal stands at 128. ATK Mohun Bagan will play NorthEast United FC in the semis and the Highlanders are a tough team to play against and is currently on a 10-game unbeaten run and they have also beaten Antonio Lopez Habas’ men once this season, which simply means that Krishna has a tough task on hand but in light of his quality, experience and work ethic, very few will discount the possibility of him going all the way to the Golden Boot trophy.

Igor Angulo (FC Goa)

Playing in his first Hero ISL, the Spaniard led the Golden Boot race for a long time before Krishna galloped ahead during the business end of the season. Angulo has 13 goals in 19 games for the Gaurs (with 118.23 minutes per goal) and quite a few times he has proved the difference for the Gaurs. Two matches particularly come to mind as his late goals fetched full three points against Jamshedpur FC and Hyderabad FC and these were also the games that kick-started FC Goa’s season in a real way after an unsatisfactory start to the season. He has waned a little in the last few matches for Juan Ferrando’s men but in light of his past performances, it will take a brave man to bet against him in the race to the Golden Boot.           

Adam le Fondre (Mumbai City FC)

Like Angulo, Adam le Fondre has left a big impression in his first-ever Hero ISL. The Englishman has scored 11 goals in 20 matches and has been one of the important factors in the Islanders’ run to the top of the table at the end of the league stage. Le Fondre has scored two braces this season so far against SC East Bengal and Bengaluru FC and will hope to beat the other two contenders to the Golden Boot trophy. His minutes per goal stands at 125 as of now as the Islanders now play FC Goa in the semis who are a little prone to letting in goals on account of often having too much focus on attack and le Fondre will fancy his chances against Ferrando’s men.

Notable mentions but not there anymore: Diego Mauricio of Odisha FC (12 goals) and Aridane Santana (10 goals) of Hyderabad FC are the other two players to have reached double digits this season but their teams failed to reach the semis.

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