Top five midfielders who powered through Hero ISL 2019-20
Midfielders are often the powerhouses that lead a side on the football pitch and the same was on display in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 season. While ATK FC rode into the sunset after beating Chennaiyin FC 3-1 in the Hero ISL final on March 14, it was FC Goa who scripted history by becoming the first Indian team to directly qualify for the AFC Champions League spot after finishing atop the Hero ISL table.
While most teams had a few standout players that commanded the middle of the park, there were a select few who stood high above the rest in terms of their overall contribution to their team. On that note, here is a list of five of the most prolific midfielders from the recently concluded 2019-20 season.
Hugo Boumous (FC Goa)
Hugo Boumous has been a revelation this season, slotting behind the ever-reliable Ferran Corominas in the FC Goa frontline. Since making his debut in the 2017-18 season, the 24-year-old midfielder has established his place in the Gaurs midfield as well as become a fan favourite. This season, he became the first midfielder in Hero ISL history to record double digits in both goals and assists in a single season - scoring 11 and assisting 10 - while averaging 48 passes per game. His top-notch performances earned him the DHL Winning Pass of the League award as well as the prestigious Hero of the League award.
Rafael Crivellaro (Chennaiyin FC)
Chennaiyin’s defiant run to the Hero ISL final this season under the stewardship of Owen Coyle is well documented. At the helm of his midfield was Crivellaro, who spearheaded the onslaught of the Chennaiyin attackers after the arrival of the Irishman. His free-flowing football was useful in building counter attacks as Chennaiyin scored a whopping 34 times in 14 games with the 31-year-old attacking midfielder scoring seven goals and assisting eight. Averaged 51 passes per game, Crivellaro had a decent passing accuracy of 58.62 as well.
Brandon Fernandes (FC Goa)
Alongside Boumous, the Goan winger is another player who has been an integral part of the side since 2017-18. He scored two goals and assisted seven others, his best return for the club since his debut. Brandon averaged 53 passes per game as the five-time Hero ISL semi-finalists soared to the top of the Hero ISL table, while registering a passing accuracy of 66.06%. The absence of both Brandon and Boumous was felt by the Gaurs as they were unable to recover from their 4-1 defeat in the first leg of their semi-final clash with Chennaiyin FC.
Rowllin Borges (Mumbai City FC)
Having jumped ship from NorthEast United FC, Borges quickly established himself as a regular for Mumbai City FC alongside Paulo Machado and then, Raynier Fernandes. He scored two goals and assisted two more after reverting to a more defensive role under Jorge Costa. He notched a passing average of 75.39. On the defensive side, he made 103 tackles as well as 43 interceptions and 56 clearances.
Erik Paartalu (Bengaluru FC)
Erik Paartalu was tasked with protecting the Bengaluru defence and was marginally successful, with the former champions boasting the best defence in the division this Hero ISL season. Boasting a strong passing accuracy of 76.63%, he averaged 39.53, while his defensive work rate ensured the Aussie defensive midfielder accounted for 44 tackles, 33 interceptions and 77 clearances, in addition to his 28 blocks. Paartalu ended the season with two goals and five assists as the Hero ISL 2018-19 champions were eventually eliminated by champions ATK FC.