Five goalkeepers who stood out in Hero ISL 2019-20
The Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 season bore witness to some incredible performances all over the pitch, including the all-important goalkeeping position. Primarily regarded as any team’s last line of defence, the custodian’s role has evolved over the past few years with their ability to distribute the ball becoming integral to how teams set up their attacks as well, making the position far more important than it was in the past.
Looking back, here are the five best goalkeepers who stood out during Hero ISL 2019-20.
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu – Bengaluru FC
Thanks to another flawless season in the Hero ISL, the India international won the 2019-20 Golden Glove award. Having won the accolade last season as well, Gurpreet became the first goalkeeper to win it two seasons in a row – further solidifying his reputation as the country’s finest custodian. Backed by a stable defence, the 28-year-old conceded the least goals and kept a league-high 11 clean sheets – a new record in the Hero ISL. He also used his stature to good effect, pulling off 95 catches and completing 80 clearances. The Blues stopper further completed over 300 passes and had a save percentage of more than 75. Gurpreet conceded just 11 times in 19 outings, at the rate of 122.14 minutes per goal.
Arindam Bhattacharja – ATK FC
Hero of the Match in ATK’s win over Chennaiyin FC in the Hero ISL 2019-20 final, the 30-year-old proved himself on the biggest stage of them all. Arindam did make a few mistakes towards the end of the league phase and the semi-final first leg against Bengaluru, but over the course of the campaign, he was up there with the best, pulling off 53 saves – the second-highest in the division. The ATK custodian kept nine clean sheets in his 20 outings, conceding just 17 times at a rate of 105.88 minutes per goal. He also managed to complete 45 clearances and was a major reason behind ATK’s record-breaking third Hero ISL title.
Subhasish Roy – NorthEast United FC
Although the Highlanders endured a difficult season, 33-year-old Subhasish had a stellar campaign in goal. His performances were nothing short of remarkable, with his heroics often saving the Highlanders some blushes and earning them a few valuable points in what was otherwise a disappointing season for the side. In just 15 matches, Subhasish managed to pull off 55 saves – the highest tally in the division. Additionally, he accounted for 70 catches, 31 clearances and three clean sheets. He conceded a goal every 64.29 minutes, with only Gurpreet and Arindam managing better numbers in Hero ISL 2019-20.
Mohammad Nawaz – FC Goa
Despite being just 20, Nawaz showed a lot of maturity and built on the breakthrough campaign he enjoyed in Hero ISL 2018-19. The youngster was much more assured with his touches and pulled off some remarkable saves. He featured in 20 matches in the Hero ISL 2019-20, wherein he had 42 saves, 55 clearances and 86 catches to his name. On the ball, the 20-year-old was probably the best among the goalkeepers in the league, completing close to 300 passes with a stunning accuracy of 85.12%.
Vishal Kaith – Chennaiyin FC
After a disappointing campaign on the personal front last season, which saw him concede 10 goals in four matches whilst playing for FC Pune City, Vishal Kaith redeemed himself in emphatic fashion in Hero ISL 2019-20 and was one of Chennaiyin’s unsung heroes in their miraculous run to the final. The 23-year-old’s reassuring presence in goal facilitated Owen Coyle’s attacking style of play, enabling Chennaiyin to throw caution to the wind and play with a lot of freedom in the opposition third. Kaith conceded 32 goals in 20 matches, keeping four clean sheets. However, it needs to be considered that 10 of these were conceded in the first six matches before Coyle’s arrival – a time during which the entire team was struggling and Chennaiyin were languishing near the bottom of the table. Kaith registered impressive stats this season, with 41 saves, 100 catches and 66 clearances.