From Jorge Ortiz to Igor Angulo: Top performers who missed out semi-finals in Hero ISL 2021-22

After 110 exciting matches in the Hero ISL 2021-22, we finally got the four semi-finalists earlier this week. Quite justifiably, Jamshedpur FC, Hyderabad FC, ATK Mohun Bagan and Kerala Blasters FC made it to the top-four after eliminating other teams in the fray. The road was not easy, but they still managed to get past the line.

There have been some exceptional individual performers in the season, with Bartholomew Ogbeche and Greg Stewart standing above the rest, as they steered their respective teams to a top-four finish. On the other hand, there have been other lone rangers, who could not replicate the same.

Let us have a look at the top notable performers who couldn’t make it to the semi-finals:

Deshorn Brown (NorthEast United FC)

The Jamaican was retained after playing an impactful role towards the end of  the previous season, as he guided the Highlanders to their second ever semi-final appearance.

Brown, as he has shown so many times in the past, was a real fox in the box for NorthEast United FC this season. Often sidelined due to injuries, Brown never hesitated to bulge the net in the limited game time he was treated with in the Hero ISL 2021-22.

In 12 matches, the prolific scorer netted seven times and assisted once, which accounts to almost one-third of the total goals scored by the Highlanders this season. There’s no reason to believe that he’s let his employers down, even though his team failed to make the top-four cut.

Jorge Ortiz (FC Goa)

The Spanish striker was roped in by FC Goa in the previous season as a part of a complete overhaul of the squad following the mass migration of core players to Mumbai City FC. With notable performances en-route to a semi-final finish, he was kept for yet another season.

The foreign quota tweak meant he was often the lone forward, which was a blessing in disguise as it brought out the best in him. In 15 matches he played for the Gaurs this season, Ortiz managed to get on the scoresheet eight times and assisted five goals too.

As per the stats, he was involved in almost 45% of the goals scored by FC Goa. Ortiz has registered 60 shots this season, the third highest by any player, at a rate of four per game. The Gaurs might be distraught at the turn of events in the Hero ISL 2021-22, but all credit to Ortiz for putting up a fight whenever he graced the green.

Roshan Naorem (Bengaluru FC)

An Indian making to the list is always a welcome sign and that too someone young makes this pick an even more encouraging from the perspective of the sport in the country. With only two appearances in the previous season, Marco Pezzaiuoli was determined to provide more game time for the youngster this time around.

Roshan returned the favour by playing some extraordinary football in the Hero ISL 2021-22 season. In 17 matches, the side-back scripted seven assists, which is the third highest by any player in the tournament and the highest by an Indian player. He even struck a breath-taking goal from a free-kick.

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Roshan contributed equally in his defensive duties as well, with 77 tackles, the second highest by a Bengaluru FC player, along with 27 interceptions, 40 clearances and 37 blocks. His exploits in India’s elite league earned him a national call-up for the upcoming international friendlies in Bahrain, later this month.

Javi Hernandez (Odisha FC)

Having spent a couple of years in Kolkata, Javi was roped in by neighbours Odisha FC to play a key role in their pursuit of a first top-four finish. Given the quality he possesses, by no means was the purchase an ordinary one.

The midfielder was at the thick of things for the Kalinga Warriors throughout the season,  as he struck six goals and assisted on five other occasions. Javi was a constant menace for the opponents as he often came up with accurate long rangers and defence splitting passes which exposed the defence and created scoring opportunities.

To put in numbers, he was involved in 35% of the goals scored by the contingent, as they were well in contention for a semi-final spot midway through the season. Despite slipping out from the race towards the business end, it cannot be denied that Javi was one of the best players in the Hero ISL 2021-22.

Igor Angulo (Mumbai City FC)

The striker had an immediate impact when he joined the Hero ISL last season, as he turned out to be the joint highest goal scorer with 14 strikes. In the hunt for Adam le Fondre and Bartholomew Ogbeche’s replacement,  Mumbai City FC roped in Igor Angulo in their title defence.

It was a bright start to the season for Mumbai City FC as they won five out of their first six matches, with Angulo playing a pivotal role in the time frame. Overall, he finished the campaign with 10 goals and two assists, which kept the Islanders in prominence till the dusk of the season.

In fact, he scored in six matches, and they were unbeaten in five of those matches, winning four of them. With the AFC Champions League matches down the road, the Islanders would be banking on the footballer to deliver the goods in the continental stage as well.

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