ISL 2023-24: Team of Matchweek 8
As the upcoming matchweek is going to begin on Wednesday, let's have a quick look at Team of Matchweek 8.
Matchweek 8 of the Indian Super League (ISL) was nothing short of enthralling, as with 21 goals were scored. The week kicked off with two roller-coaster matches where 12 goals were scored, but we could not find a winner. Later on, there were two narrow wins for Odisha FC and FC Goa, where a single-goal margin was enough for the winning team. Both Kolkata-based clubs created individual records, where Mohun Bagan Super Giant continued their five-match winning streak and East Bengal FC wrote their names into history with their biggest win in the ISL.
An entertaining week that was filled with action and thrillers saw some brilliant tactical battles and some sensational individual goals. By the end of this week, FC Goa had cemented their spot at the top of the table, while East Bengal FC jumped to the seventh spot, overtaking Chennaiyin FC and Bengaluru FC. However, Punjab FC and Hyderabad FC’s wait continues for their first victory of the season, as they have yet to win a game after playing eight games each.
As the upcoming matchweek 9 is going to tune in on Wednesday, let’s have a quick look at the best eleven players from matchweek 8, with a 4-3-3 formation. FC Goa and East Bengal FC have asserted their supremacy in the Team of the Week’s starting lineup, with three players from each.
Arshdeep Singh (FC Goa)
Arshdeep Singh is reinventing himself under head coach Manolo Marquez at FC Goa. The Chandigarh-born goalkeeper has been showing his prominence under the bars, which boosts his defenders’ morale. The young goalie so far is living his career-best season, already having five clean sheets to his name. Arshdeep made some crucial saves against Kerala Blasters FC, denying the visitors the equaliser that let his team continue their unbeaten streak.
Asish Rai (Mohun Bagan Super Giant)
Asish Rai was instrumental throughout on the right flank with his speedy, overlapping runs and quality crosses. Not only in delivering quick forward passes, Rai also showed his proficiency in taking long-range strikes. The offensive full-back scored his first ISL goal against Hyderabad FC in the 96th minute of the game, handing his team a comfortable 2-0 victory in an away fixture.
Odei Onaindia (FC Goa)
Odei Onaindia showcased his leadership in FC Goa’s defence, not giving a single chance to the opponent’s strikers. The Spanish defender recorded 11 clearances against Kerala Blasters FC, which is so far the highest in a single game by the end of matchweek 8. With his partnership with Sandesh Jhingan, they gave no chance to Kerala Blasters FC’s forwards, placing them at the top of the table by the end of this matchweek.
Onaindia is a very crucial member of Manolo Marquez’s setup. Since his arrival in the ISL, the Spanish defender has showcased his composure and leadership qualities in difficult times, adding extra strength to the team’s mentality.
Brendan Hamill (Mohun Bagan Super Giant)
In the absence of Indian international Anwar Ali, Brendan Hamill has been taking some extra initiative to lead the team from the back. Establishing himself as an inseparable part of Mohun Bagan Super Giant, Hamill had a great game against Hyderabad FC by breaking the deadlock in the 85th minute.
It was all square at Kalinga Stadium until the Australian ball-playing defender made a quick overlap using possession play and scored the opener, surpassing his markers with his precise right-footed finish that gave all the Mariners a moment of relief. Apart from that, Hamill made numerous key clearances and was solid in winning individual duels.
Jay Gupta (FC Goa)
Words could fall short of describing the quality and potential Jay Gupta has in him. In his first ISL season, Gupta has made it possible to make it to the starting lineup in almost every game and perform consistently with the same approach.
The left-back continues to impress everyone as he maintained his performance against Kerala Blasters FC, helping his side secure a 1-0 win in a highly intense match. Jay made three tackles and won seven ground duels throughout the match. He won possession back 13 times against Kerala Blasters FC and also made four successful dribbles.
Naorem Mahesh Singh (East Bengal FC)
Since joining East Bengal FC, Naorem Mahesh Singh has emerged as one of the most creative players on the pitch, establishing himself as a key performer for his club and national team. The Manipur-born winger was in full song against NorthEast United FC, showing his brilliance with the ball through the right flank that troubled the opponent’s defence several times in the match. Adding two assists to his name, Mahesh has caught the eyes against the Highlanders with his smart vision, excellent ball distribution, and impeccable understanding of the game.
During this matchweek, he was involved in most of the duels. Winning eight of 17 duels, Mahesh was a real threat to his opponent with his quick feet and tricky movements.
Ahmed Jahouh (Odisha FC)
Ahmed Jahouh was pivotal in Odisha FC’s center of the park with his creativity and sheer control on the ball. Jahouh created the highest number of chances (five chances) in the game and also assisted Roy Krishna with a beautiful delivery from a corner kick that ended up being the decisive moment of the match.
Since his arrival in ISL, the Moroccan has been the most consistent performer in his position. Through the 90 minutes, he dispossessed Jamshedpur FC 15 times to win back position, which is so far the best number for any player in ISL 2023–24. In terms of work rate, the 35-year-old midfielder is the lone competitor to himself, as it’s been the 42nd time in ISL history that Jahouh logged more than 100 touches in a single game.
Nandhakumar Sekar (East Bengal FC)
Prior to joining East Bengal FC, Nandhakumar Sekhar was instrumental for the Juggernauts in every aspect. But the 27-year-old winger was yet to find his rhythm in ISL 2023–24, which made him start the game from the bench.
But coming in from the bench against NorthEast United FC, Sekar took only 17 minutes to put his name on the scoresheet. Besides scoring a brace, the Tamil Nadu-born winger assisted Cleiton Silva with an inch-perfect pass that helped the Red and Gold Brigade register their biggest win in the ISL.
Dimitrios Diamantakos (Kerala Blasters FC)
Dimitrios Diamantakos continued his dazzling form by scoring a brace against Chennaiyin FC, securing a point in a six-goal thriller. Diamantakos displayed his composure in opening the scoresheet by converting a penalty with his left-footed, grounded shot in the 11th minute. Later on, he showed his class with his fine, precise left-footed curling strike that found the top left corner, giving no chance to Debjit Majumder.
The Greek forward has established himself as one of the finest No. 9 players in the ISL in recent times. He has the best differential between expected goals (0.94) and actual goals scored (two) in Matchday 8 (+1.06 xG value), which shows his precision in terms of finishing.
Jordan Murray (Chennaiyin FC)
With Jordan Murray, Chennaiyin FC have an ISL-proven quality striker that he proved again against his former team, Kerala Blasters FC, by scoring a brace in the southern rivalry. Scoring from the spot-kick in front of the passionate Yellow Army to silence the Manjappada Brigade with his cool and composed placement, Murray did what he does best in Kochi. The Australian forward was in fine form this week, proving his worth in every moment of the game.
Cleiton Silva (East Bengal FC)
The Brazilian forward is getting better with time, proving his worth every time he plays. Cleiton Silva put on a commendable attacking display against the Highlanders by scoring a brace that helped East Bengal FC secure their second win of the season.
With these two goals, Silva now has five goals in seven matches, leveling him with Jorge Pereyra Diaz on the highest goal scorer’s list. From scoring a stunning headed flick from Mandar Rao Desai’s center to showing his prowess inside the box by converting Nandhakumar Sekar’s defense-splitting pass, Silva was at his very best, helping East Bengal FC outplay NorthEast United FC by a 5-0 scoreline.
Head Coach: Carles Cuadrat