Attackers win you games, defences win you championships. This quote by Sir Alex Ferguson has become a footballing cliche over the years and is often used to stress the importance of a defensive unit. 

The reference to a team’s defensive unit often puts the attention of the team’s defenders who combine to keep the opposition out. But a key cog in any successful rearguard action is the last line of defence. 

The goalkeepers are often the unsung heroes behind a team’s success and the man in goal can easily make or break a team. 

The Hero Indian Super League (ISL) has seen some stunning performances in goal and here’s a look at goalkeepers who have made the most saves in each Hero ISL season so far. 

2014 - Kristof van Hout (Delhi Dynamos)

Delhi Dynamos came very close to qualifying for the semi-finals in the inaugural Hero ISL season, missing out by just one point. A big reason for their endeavour was Belgian goalkeeper Kristof van Hout. He made 62 saves for the capital side helping them keep five clean sheets which was the joint second-best record that season.

The former Genk and Standard Liege goalkeeper averaged 4.42 saves per game which remains the best saves per-game ratio in Hero ISL history. 

2015 - TP Rehenesh (NorthEast United FC)

Much like Van Hout, Rehenesh’s efforts went in vain as NorthEast United FC narrowly missed out on the semi-finals in the 2015 season. However, it proved to be a breakthrough season for the Kerala goalkeeper who made 47 saves that season, more than any other goalkeeper in the league. 

He helped the Highlanders keep four clean sheets, a tally bettered only by eventual champions Chennaiyin FC. Rehenesh has since not looked back and continues to be among the top goalkeepers in India. 

2016 - Apoula Edel Bete (FC Pune City) 

The 2016 campaign was a disappointing one for FC Pune City as they finished sixth on the table with just four wins in 14 matches but goalkeeper Apoula Edel Bete who had joined from champions Chennaiyin FC was the shining light of their campaign. 

He made 47 saves, seven more than the second goalkeeper on the list that season and ended his Hero ISL career on a high. It also proved to be his last professional season as he hung up his boots after that season. 

2017-18 - Amrinder Singh (Mumbai City FC) 

Mumbai City FC finished seventh in Hero ISL 2017-18 having ended the previous campaign on top of the pile. But Amrinder Singh who had played just six matches in the previous campaign made his mark in goal. 

He produced 59 saves for the Alexander Guimares-led side and established himself among the top goalkeepers in the country after inconsistent first two seasons. 

2018-19 - Amrinder Singh (Mumbai City FC) 

Amrinder Singh found himself on top of the saves charts once again in 2018-19 as he carried on from where he had left off in the previous campaign. He produced 66 saves for the Islanders as they kept the joint-most clean sheets with eventual champions Bengaluru FC as Mumbai City FC reached the semi-finals.

Amrinder’s tally of 66 saves in the 2018-19 season is the second-highest figure for most saves in a season by a goalkeeper. 

2019-20 - Subhasish Roy (NorthEast United FC)

The Highlanders had a season to forget in 2019-20 as they finished in ninth position but goalkeeper Subhasish Roy did himself proud by making the most saves in that season. 

With 55 saves to his name, Roy averaged 3.67 saves per match making it the joint third-best season average in the league’s history. 

2020-21 - Arshdeep Singh (Odisha FC)

Odisha FC finished the 2020-21 season at the bottom of the table but found a gem in goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh who rose to the occasion. 

The goalkeeper made 64 saves for the Kalinga Warriors averaging four saves per game which is the best return for an Indian goalkeeper in the league’s history in a single season and the second-best ever. 

Arshdeep went strength-to-strength from there and now plies his trade at FC Goa. 

2021-22 - Laxmikanth Kattimani (Hyderabad FC)

Kattimani has had a long Hero ISL career but his best moment came in the colours of Hyderabad FC as his heroics guided them to their first Hero ISL title in 2021-22. 

While most will recall his penalty shootout exploits in the final, he was equally exceptional during the season making 61 saves. Then head coach Manolo Marquez hailed him as the best goalkeeper in India after the season and he is the only goalkeeper on this list to end up as the champion.

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (Bengaluru FC)

The list would have felt incomplete without Sandhu who has been India’s No 1 goalkeeper over the last decade. And he makes this list in stunning fashion after a superb 2022-23 season that saw the Blues go all the way to the final. 

Sandhu made 71 saves making him the goalkeeper with the most saves in a single Hero ISL season. The former Stabaek FC custodian produced a stunning display in the semi-finals against League Shield Winners Mumbai City FC to take his team to the final as the Blues completed a stunning turnaround after a poor start last season.