Influential defensive masterminds in Hero ISL 2017-18
In football, everyone will be of the opinion that matches are won when goals are scored, but one can never deny that if goals are not conceded, matches are never lost. A sturdy defence has always been crucial to building the foundation of any team and the same was witnessed in Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18. The currently-concluded season was a spectator to solid defending skills from some individual players and here we take a look at the most influential ones.
Mailson Alves - Chennaiyin FC
Having plied his trade for the current champions in both their title-winning campaigns in 2015 and 2017-18, the Brazilian has slowly gone on to become a prominent figure in Chennaiyin’s backline. Not only did he did he fulfil his defensive duties to the tee but surged forward to score four goals for the Marina Machans this season. His 53 tackles and 30 blocks coupled with 163 clearances is a wonderful example of his overall dominance.
Inigo Calderon - Chennaiyin FC
Another Chennaiyin member finds a place on our list, thanks to his towering presence in the defensive set up. Playing in his first season in India, the Spaniard featured in 20 matches for the champions clocking 1800 minutes in the process. With an impressive tally of 50 tackles, 22 blocks and 100 clearances through the season, the three goals he scored also throws light on the fittest player of the league’s varied qualities.
Lucian Goian - Mumbai City FC
The Islanders may not have had a satisfactory 2017-18 season but their captain Lucian Goian has clearly been one of the best players in the squad. The Romanian’s leadership skills have been on point, while his remarkable 85 tackles, 24 blocks and 79 clearances showcase his influential contribution in defence. He finished the season with two goals to his name and regularly aided the attack whenever called upon.
Tom Thorpe - ATK
In the worst season till date for the two-time champions, not many of their players have grabbed the limelight in the mix of other contributors. Thorpe may not have made headlines over the season but he has been a steady member in ATK’s backline. Missing out on a number of games due to injuries, his 63 clearances, 9 tackles, 14 blocks and a goal in the 11 games he featured in, builds a great case of what the 25-year old is capable of in the future.
Sergio Juste - FC Goa
In a season where the Gaurs attack has been the talking point all over the nation, the one figure who has stood out in their defensive line is the 26-year old Sergio Juste. In the 11 matches he featured in for the Goan outfit, he was at the end of 20 tackles, 38 clearances and 12 interceptions, while netting one for the club. However, his passing accuracy of 88.99% over the season is what sets him apart from others.