Shot stoppers who stole the show in Hero ISL 2017-18
The Hero Indian Super League 2017-18 season witnessed previous records being broken and new milestones being achieved. In a season where consistency won Chennaiyin FC the trophy, we saw new stars being unearthed and the importance of compact squads gaining precedence. One such area where the club managements concentrated the maximum on was the addition of quality goalkeepers in the squad. We take a look at the top custodians who made their presence felt with their mindboggling show.
Vishal Kaith - FC Pune City
At 21, the Stallions’ custodian grabbed eyeballs of both football experts and fans alike. Featuring in 17 matches for Pune in their best-ever Hero ISL season, which saw them make the playoffs for the first time ever, Kaith managed to keep seven clean sheets which included 45 saves. Moreover, his ability to read the game a move or two ahead made him an irreplaceable part of the Pune outfit. With 41 clearances and 117 catches to his name, Kaith also had the numbers going his way.
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu - Bengaluru FC
Coming into his debut season in the Hero ISL, a lot was expected out of Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. And the first choice ’keeper of the Indian national team lived up to the billing by putting up a string of inspiring performances for Bengaluru FC. He was one of the major reasons behind the Blues’ excellent display throughout season. His shot stopping, along with a commanding presence inside the penalty area meant Bengaluru boasted of a defence that could put the best of attacks in the league to shame. The 26-year old managed seven clean sheets and pulled out 46 saves over the 19 matches he has featured in, conceding just 0.89 goals per game.
Karanjit Singh - Chennaiyin FC
In Chennaiyin FC’s title-winning campaign, the Marina Machans displayed a consistent and balanced performance throughout the season. And guarding their fortress with purpose was the 32-year-old Karanjit Singh. In the 20 matches he played, Karanjit kept seven clean sheets and thwarted 51 attempts on the goal. He would also make 37 clearances, giving a glimpse of how crucial his form was for the champions.
Subrata Paul - Jamshedpur FC
Arjuna awardee Subrata Paul was one of the biggest stars for Jamshedpur FC in their debut Hero ISL season. And the ‘Indian Spiderman’ did live up to all the expectations. He was one of the major reasons Jamshedpur boasted of the best defensive side in the season and ended the league with seven clean sheets and 44 saves. He was breached only 15 times in the 18 matches he played in, allowing just 0.83 goals per game.
Paul Rachubka - Kerala Blasters FC
The only foreign goalkeeper to make a mark in the 2017-18 season amidst a crop of Indian talents, Rachubka brought his years of experience to aid the Kerala Blasters defence. In the 12 games that he featured in for the Yellow Brigade, he kept five clean sheets while pulling 33 saves, some of them spectacular indeed. He also has 48 catches and 15 clearances to his name through the season, which gives a glimpse of the 36-year-old’s impact.