How shot-stoppers fared in an all-Indian season, a first for Hero ISL
A goalkeeper’s role in football can’t be praised enough. It’s another thing that his heroics are forgotten fast. Regardless of that, the custodians go on performing unselfishly. The ongoing Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) has seen the Indian goalkeepers go from strength to strength, and in a first in league history no foreign shot-stopper featured in any of the squads. Before the semi-finals get underway on Friday, let’s assess the performance of some of these selfless warriors. It may be noted that this season the following criteria will decide who takes the Golden Glove trophy home: highest number of clean sheets, goals conceded (lower the better), minutes per goal conceded (higher the better). The second criterion comes into play in case there is a tie on clean sheets, while the third criterion comes into play when the second criterion couldn’t decide the winner either.
Amrinder Singh (Mumbai City FC)
Amrinder Singh has nine clean sheets in 20 appearances for Mumbai City FC this season, making 51 saves and conceding just 18 goals. He also has an impressive saves percentage of 73.91%. He recorded a personal best of nine saves in a Hero ISL game against Kerala Blasters FC in early February when the Islanders came back from a goal down to win 2-1. Amrinder is a strong contender in the Golden Glove race as the Islanders play FC Goa in the semis.
Arindam Bhattacharja (ATK Mohun Bagan)
Arindam Bhattacharja narrowly missed out on the Golden Glove award last season but this season he looks determined to go all the way as the Mariners play NorthEast United FC in the semis. Aided by an experienced backline in front of him, Arindam has made some important saves when called upon. He has 10 clean sheets in 20 games, conceding just 15 goals which is the lowest this season so far. Arindam has also made 50 saves this season and has a commanding saves percentage of 76.92%.
Subhasish Roy (NorthEast United FC)
The experienced custodian, who is playing his seventh season, kept three clean sheets in 13 appearances for NorthEast United FC. Subhasish Roy’s performance – adorned with 21 saves -- has been crucial to the Highlanders’ run to the semis. Injury to Subhasish in early season also saw 21-year-old Gurmeet make eight appearances for the Highlanders and he has two clean sheets to his name.
Dheeraj Singh (FC Goa)
The young goalkeeper joined FC Goa from ATK Mohun Bagan during the January transfer window and quickly established himself as a first-team regular. His only clean sheet in seven games came in their all-important tie against Hyderabad FC and Dheeraj made a crucial save in the final minutes of the game to help seal a point and the fourth spot on the league table for the Gaurs. Prior to Dheeraj, Mohamamad Nawaz kept goal for the Gaurs and earned one clean sheet in 10 games. He conceded a goal every 81.82 minutes which is better than that of Dheeraj (63). Naveen Kumar too featured in three games for the Gaurs and kept one clean sheet.
Laxmikant Kattimani (Hyderabad FC)
Laxmikant Kattimani had a strong second half to Hero ISL 2020-21 with Hyderabad FC. The goalkeeper was competing with Subrata Paul for the No.1 spot but after the latter’s departure to SC East Bengal, Kattimani made the spot his own. In all, he kept six clean sheets in 14 games, and was unlucky not to have made it to the top four especially in light of his performances towards the end of the league stage. Meanwhile, Paul kept two clean sheets in his six games for Manuel Marquez’s men.
TP Rehenesh (Jamshedpur FC)
TP Rehenesh was among the best goalkeepers during the league stage of Hero ISL 2020-21. He made 19 appearances, and kept eight clean sheets for Jamshedpur FC. Rehenesh also made 54 saves for his team, and managed a commanding saves percentage of 73.97%. Although his side did not make it to the top four, Rehenesh will be proud of his performances in what was his best season in terms of clean sheets. Pawan Kumar meanwhile featured in two games for Owen Coyle’s men.
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (Bengaluru FC)
Golden Glove winner for the last two seasons, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu did not have a satisfactory season by his high standards. He was not helped by his leaky defence either, and the India international only kept four clean sheets in 19 games. However, there is no denying his quality and fans can expect him to return next season stronger. Lalthuammawia Ralte also made one appearance for the Blues.
Vishal Kaith (Chennaiyin FC)
Vishal Kaith has been a mainstay in goal for Chennaiyin FC for the last two Hero ISL seasons. The Marina Machans’ defence was solid this season, and led by Vishal, the side kept six clean sheets in their 20 matches. He made 51 saves and conceded 23 goals. If not for their attacking woes, Chennaiyin FC would have been in a better position on the league table.
Debjit Majumder (SC East Bengal)
Debjit Majumder lost his place in the SC East Bengal first team to Subrata Paul towards the end of the season. The custodian made 50 saves in 15 matches, although he kept only two clean sheets for the Red and Gold Brigade. Paul meanwhile featured in four games for SC East Bengal. Mirshad Michu too featured in one game. Sankar Roy too got a game before his transfer to Hyderabad FC.
Albino Gomes (Kerala Blasters FC)
One of the best players for the Blasters this season, the goalkeeper kept three clean sheets besides 58 saves in 20 appearances for the Kochi-based club. Albino saved three penalties as well and although his side finished 10th on the league table, he was a mainstay in their ever-changing backline that conceded 36 goals.
Arshdeep Singh (Odisha FC)
Arshdeep Singh has the maximum number of saves (64 in 16 games) till the end of the league stage. Odisha FC conceded more goals than any other side this season (44) and without Arshdeep, things could have been worse for them. However, he kept just one clean sheet. Kamaljit Singh and Ravi Kumar also featured for Odisha FC.