Top five goal-scorers in Hero ISL 2020-21
Putting the ball into the net has always been the most difficult thing to do in football and that old adage proved true in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 as defenders made it difficult for forwards to get on the scoresheet. Most games were highly competitive with the back of the net rippling 298 times over 115 games at a rate of 2.59 goals per match. While there were quite a few braces, the recently-concluded season witnessed just one hat-trick, which was scored by Mumbai City FC winger Bipin Singh. Only five players managed to get to double digits as far as goal-scoring was concerned and here we have a look at how their numbers stack up.
Roped in to replace two-time Hero ISL Golden Boot winner Ferran Corominas, it’s safe to say that Igor Angulo has done well by following in his predecessor’s footsteps in his debut campaign for the Gaurs. The Spanish striker won the Golden Boot award after netting 14 times for FC Goa and he did so in 21 games with a goal every 117.50 minutes. He netted three braces for the Gaurs and tormented defenders by playing on their shoulders as he looked to beat the offside trap. Angulo also scored quite a few late goals to rescue points for the Gaurs and found the back of the net for FC Goa in the first-leg semi-final besides being on target for them in the penalty shootout against eventual champions Mumbai City FC in the second leg.
Like Angulo, Roy Krishna had scored 14 times in recently concluded season, but the Fijian had done it over 23 matches and had higher minutes per goal scored (147.28), which is why Angulo took home the Golden Boot. That said, Krishna’s impact on ATK Mohun Bagan cannot be overstated, especially when you consider that he had more goal-contributions than any other player. The 33-year-old scored 14 goals with several coming late in games to get his team crucial points. A big-match player, perhaps his propensity to rise to challenges and preform was best demonstrated in the semis and final when despite not getting on the scoresheet himself, Krishna still contributed by making four assists in those three games. Krishna, in fact, provided eight assists in Hero ISL 2020-21, meaning half of those came in high-stake contests.
Odisha FC endured a far from ideal season as they slumped to a bottom-placed finish after just two wins all campaign. However, one bright spark of their season was the emergence of Diego Mauricio, who was a handful for defenders to deal with and almost always contributed for the Bhubaneswar-based club. The Brazilian attacker finished with 12 goals and two assists, making him the standout performer for Odisha FC. He could make an impact after coming on from the bench and loved to take on players whenever the opportunity presented itself. Mauricio was also deadly from distance and found the back of the net from range more than once, including a cheeky freekick that he deliberately hit under the wall.
Adam le Fondre
Adam le Fondre will have plenty of fond memories of his debut season with Mumbai City FC in the Hero ISL. Whether it’s clinching the League Winners Shield or becoming Hero ISL champions, le Fondre has plenty of positives to reflect on, including being the Islanders’ top-scorer with 11 goals. The Englishman proved to be a versatile presence up front and was shifted out wide right on several occasions as head coach Sergio Lobera looked to accommodate both him and Bartholomew Ogbeche in the team. However, irrespective of his position, le Fondre always looked lively and even chipped in with an assist besides innumerable wicked crosses from the right flank, in particular.
Aridane Santana was the fifth and final player in Hero ISL 2020-21 to reach double digits for goals scored. He finished the season as the top-scorer for Hyderabad FC with 10 goals and also provided a couple of assists. The Spanish striker wasn’t available for his team’s last league stage game of the season as he served a suspension, and one wonders what his presence in the team could have done for Manuel Marquez’s semis qualification hopes. A strong and physical targetman, Santana’s uncanny knack to be in the right place at the right time and link-up play made him a threat against any team.