Top-five Golden Boot contenders in Hero ISL 2020-21 after 43 games

After a two-day new year break, the action resumes in the 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) on Saturday with the Mumbai City FC-Kerala Blasters FC game. There have been 94 goals in 43 games so far at an average of 2.19 goals per match. While FC Goa have topped the goalscoring charts with 12 goals -- thanks largely to Igor Angulo -- SC East Bengal and Odisha FC find themselves at the other end of the spectrum with five goals each. With teams settling down nicely now having been into the season almost one and a half months, fans can expect more and more brilliant individual performances in the new year. Let’s take a look at the players who stand a good chance at winning the Golden Boot award as of now.        

Igor Angulo

The FC Goa striker has been a cut above the rest so far. Angulo has hit the back of the net nine times in as many games. The 36-year-old Spaniard has scored three braces so far, which is the highest for any player this season. While his braces against Kerala Blasters FC and Jamshedpur FC brought wins to the Gaurs, the one against Bengaluru FC brought a point after trailing 2-0. Twice he has won a game for the Gaurs out of nowhere by scoring a stoppage time winner: the latest being against Hyderabad FC this past Wednesday night. The kind of form Angulo has shown so far in his first Hero ISL, he has indeed come out as the strongest contender for the Golden Boot.

Nerijus Valskis

The Lithuanian striker is second on the list as of now with six goals in 9 games. Valskis, Golden Boot winner last season with Chennaiyin FC, has picked up where he left off in 2019-20. Valskis started on a great note for Jamshedpur this season and picked up his six goals in the first six games, however, in the team’s last three matches Valskis has failed to hit the back of the net. Twice Valskis has scored a brace this season, first in a 2-2 draw against Odisha FC and then in a 2-1 win over ATK Mohun Bagan. Head coach Owen Coyle believes Valskis can score just for fun if the service to him is improved, and he will hope that’s exactly how things pan out for his striker in the new year.    

Roy Krishna

The ATK Mohun Bagan striker has had the similar ebb-and-flow experiences as Valskis. The Fijian, who lost to Valskis in the Golden Boot race narrowly last season, started well and scored without fail in the first four matches for the Mariners and three of them resulted in outright wins. However, there has been a little dip in form of late and he has scored just once in ATK Mohun Bagan’s last four games. Krishna would hope the new year brings good tidings and he finds his goal-scoring consistency again.        

Adam le Fondre

The Mumbai City FC striker has been quite a revelation in his debut Hero ISL season. He has started six of Mumbai City’s seven games so far and in four games he has hit the back of the net, including a brace against SC East Bengal. With the Islanders boasting arguably the most attractive bunch of players particularly in the middle of the park, the Englishman can expect good service from that region of the pitch all through the season, and that makes him a serious contender for the Golden Boot.     

Aridane Santana

The Hyderabad FC striker has featured in seven games and could not play once because of injury. He has made a big impact for Manuel Marquez’s side so far. Santana, in his first season for Hyderabad after scoring 14 goals for Odisha FC last season, has scored five goals so far including a match-winning brace against SC East Bengal. In Hyderabad’s latest game against FC Goa on Wednesday, he had put his team ahead through a lovely header and it was really heart-breaking that his side conceded two late goals and his effort got undone. Be that as it may, his candidature for the Golden Boot can’t be ignored as he looks good to add many more goals to his tally.

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