The leading assist-providers from Hero ISL 2020-21
While goal-scoring is widely accepted as the hardest thing to do in football, creating chances to find the back of the net comes a close second. After all a lot of factors need to be in order for players to create clear-cut openings for their teammates to score from and that was pretty much the case in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21. Not many players were capable of creating openings in opposition defences at will in the recently concluded season. Spotting the pass, distributing the ball with the perfect weight and getting the ball to their teammates to score in the blink of an eye isn’t always easy but here we look at those players who excelled when it came to providing assists in Hero ISL 2020-21.
Alberto Noguera was FC Goa’s most creative player in Hero ISL 2020-21 with the Spanish playmaker posing a threat to opposition defences courtesy of his ability to place a pass and his guile on the ball. Noguera was frequently the one unlocking defences for FC Goa with his imaginative defence-splitting and eye-of-the-needle passes. No player managed to provide more than his eight assists in Hero ISL 2020-21 and Noguera also contributed a goal to the Gaurs’ tally in his debut campaign with the club.
Roy Krishna was adjudged the Hero of the League and with good reason. The Fijian striker ended the season with 14 goals for ATK Mohun Bagan and was the Mariners’ biggest game-changer over the course of the campaign. Besides his 14 strikes, Krishna also provided eight assists to set up his teammates to score and four of those assists came in crunch clashes against NorthEast United FC in two legs of their semi-final as well as the final against Mumbai City FC.
Hugo Boumous missed some clashes due to a minor injury and later a suspension. However, despite missing out on those matches, Boumous still finished as the Islanders’ top assists-provider having set up seven goals for Sergio Lobera’s men. His eye for a pass and ability to carry the ball up the pitch made him a handful to deal with. Besides his seven assists for Mumbai City FC, Boumous also found the back of the net thrice, including once in their first-leg semis clash against FC Goa.
Even though Federico Gallego didn’t start Hero ISL 2020-21 in the best fashion from a personal point of view, he certainly ended it strongly. The Uruguayan playmaker was entrusted to take most of NorthEast United FC’s set-pieces and frequently put in quality balls into dangerous areas. He finished the season with four goals and was the Highlanders’ leading assist-maker (6). The Uruguayan playmaker’s strong form was a major factor behind NorthEast United FC’s late surge to the semi-finals.
Jamshedpur FC may not have qualified for the semis, but Owen Coyle’s men remained competitive throughout even though they struggled to carve open opposition defences. One individual from Jamshedpur FC who knew how to pull the strings and did damage with his intricate passing in tight spaces was Aitor Monroy. The Spanish midfielder finished the season as Jamshedpur FC’s top assist-provider (6) and could have been extremely dangerous had his teammates been more clinical in the final third.
Odisha FC didn’t enjoy the best of seasons as they finished bottom of the standings with just two wins. That said, they did have a few positives to take and while one was the emergence of talisman Diego Mauricio, the other was the performances of Jerry Mawihmingthanga. Jerry didn’t feature in Odisha FC’s first few games but was a menace when fit, setting up five goals to make him the Bhubaneswar-based club’s top assist-maker. He also scored a brace for Odisha FC during the club’s last match of the season
While Ahmed Jahouh may not be a name frequently mentioned when discussing the attacking side of a player’s game, his contributions in attack cannot be overlooked. A workhorse and imposing figure at the center of the park for the Islanders, only Boumous provided more assists than Jahouh (5) among players from Mumbai City FC. His quality balls during set-pieces were a running theme throughout the campaign just like his long passes from deep that more often than not picked out teammates in threatening areas.