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ISL 2018-19: Mumbai City FC’s Jorge Costa – We can get three points against FC Goa – football news

Mumbai City FC will look to continue from their 2-0 win over FC Pune City last week when they come up against FC Goa on Wednesday.

The Islanders have four points from their first three matches and coach Jorge Costa hopes that his team can continue to pick points in order to climb on the table.

“It was very important for us because we didn’t start the league very well. We got one point against Kerala and finally we got three points at home against Pune. I hope that after this game we can find the way to win more matches,” said Costa.

The Portuguese mentioned that although FC Goa have a very good team, he has already devised a strategy for his team to be victorious on Wednesday.

“They have a very good team and a very good coach. It’s easy to understand what they want to do on the pitch. I will not speak of individual players but we are going to have a difficult game for sure. We respect them a lot but we also know what to do. If we do these things, I am confident that we can get three points,” he opined.

“Everybody asks me about last season. Last season we won 4-3 over here (in Goa) but it’s a different story now. We scored two goals and we missed a penalty in the last game. If we have more chances we should score more goals. Of course, for me, it’s important to win the game whether it is 4-3 or 4-2. It (winning) is also important for the defence as well,” he signed off.

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What would ISL clubs wish for during international break? – football news

The fifth season of the Indian Super League (ISL) has entered its first international break. 

After nine matches, five teams are on four points each at the top of the table, with FC Goa leading the pack due to a higher tally of goals scored. All teams except Delhi Dynamos and FC Pune City have played two matches. Chennaiyin and ATK are the only teams yet open their account. 

The ISL will return on October 17 but until then, it is a period for the players and coaches who are not involved with their national teams to take a breather and analyze the key areas for improvement. Let’s take a look at what the 10 ISL clubs will wish for when the league resumes after the break:


ATK – Team Chemistry


ATK NorthEast United ISL

Under Steve Coppell, ATK have looked lethargic and disorganized. After roping in proven campaigners like John Johnson, Gerson, Manuel Lanzarote and Kalu Uche, a revamped ATK has struggled to fit everyone into the team and get going. 

The English coach admittedly had little say in the player recruitment and with his defence-first approach, the attack-minded players look out of place in the team. 


Bengaluru FC – A fully fit Dimas Delgado


Ever since the season started for Bengaluru FC with the AFC Cup fixtures against Altyn Asyr, Dimas Delgado’s absence has been felt. The Spanish midfielder was instrumental in pulling the strings and exerting dominance in the middle of the pitch under Albert Roca last season. 

Dimas Delgado Bengaluru FC

Bengaluru’s style of play badly needs a midfield controller like Delgado. He returned to the pitch in the second-half against Jamshedpur after a long-term injury layoff. But Cuadrat and co. will be hoping to see a fully fit Dimas Delgado raring to go when the league resumes. In his absence, Bengaluru FC never really controlled the games, especially the two opening ISL matches at home. 


Chennaiyin FC – Goals and a better midfield


Anirudh Thapa FC Goa Chennaiyin FC ISL

A strong midfield was a vital component of Chennaiyin’s success last season. The likes of Dhanpal Ganesh, Bikramjit Singh, Anirudh Thapa and Germanpreet Singh did a phenomenal job as the team journeyed to the title but their campaign has begun on a sour note. They are yet to earn a point after two defeats in the first two games and the midfield has been awful to say the least.

With Dhanpal out injured for the first half of the season, both Anirudh Thapa and Germanpreet Singh will be expected to step up in the centre of the park after back-to-back dire displays. Adding insult to injury, Jeje Lalpekhlua looked isolated and without service to get going in front of the goal. 


Delhi Dynamos – A cure for profligacy


Delhi Dynamos vs Pune City ISL 2018/19

The Lions have played just one game (1-1 vs Pune City) but there are no excuses for dropping two points despite creating plenty of chances to put the game to bed. A late equaliser allowed FC Pune City to earn a point that did not look possible for most of the game. 

The Dynamos cannot afford to waste chances. Their only goal in the game came from a speculative long-range effort by Rana Gharami that swung in the air and landed in the net to turn out to be an absolute belter. 


FC Goa – Clean Sheets


Sergio Lobera’s side kept just two clean sheets in 20 matches last season. While their strategy has been to outscore the opposition, defending is an important part of any team’s chase for the title. The Gaurs allowed NorthEast United to come back and equalise after having taking the lead twice. They also allowed Eli Sabia to score a late header in their 3-1 win over Chennaiyin FC.

Ralte Kattimani FC Goa

Lobera chose to start both their games with 18-year-old Mohammad Nawaz who had his moments under the bar but is still some way off from being a convincing presence under the bar. FC Goa have stuck to their attacking football under Lobera but a strong defence could be the difference between a semi-final exit and a title win.


FC Pune City – Return of Marcelinho and midfield dynamics


Marcelinho NorthEast United FC FC Pune City ISL 4 2017/2018

FC Pune City’s talisman Marcelinho was suspended for their season opener against Delhi Dynamos for the red card he picked up in their Super Cup exit against Shillong Lajong. Pune City struggled to get on the front foot for the majority of the game and lacked a focal point in attack. The Brazilian’s return to the starting lineup will be a big boost to the team and will provide much-needed flair in attack. 

Jonathan Vila, Marko Stankovic and Adil Khan have failed to boss the midfield so far and a better dynamics amongst the trio will be expected after the break. 
 


Jamshedpur FC – Better support for Tiri


Jamshedpur FC skipper Tiri has been a one-man-army at the back for Cesar Ferrando’s side in the first two games. Against Bengaluru FC, the Spanish defender put in vital blocks and last-ditch tackles to keep the Men of Steel in the game. Raju Gaikwad, in particular, has been sub-par. 

Fellow defenders in the side to step up their game to support the skipper. Defending requires teamwork and coordination which Cesar Ferrando will demand from his side once the league season resumes. 

 


Kerala Blasters – Improvement at home


The last time Kerala Blasters reached the finals, they had won six and lost just one match in Kochi. Last season, Blasters recorded a poor home run (a mere two wins in nine games) and endured a frustrating campaign. 

Kochi U17 World Cup

And after a 2-0 win against ATK in the season opener, Blasters fell to a last-minute stunner by Mumbai City’s Pranjal Bhumij and dropped two points at home. Kerala Blasters have recently struggled to win matches in front of their home crowd. For a team vying for the title, this is unacceptable and needs to change.  


Mumbai City – Foreign players to step up 


Mumbai City Jamshedpur FC ISL

The foreign contingent of Mumbai City are yet to make an impact in ISL after the first two rounds. The likes of Rafael Bastos and Moudou Sougou have completely gone off the radar despite playing both their first two matches. Matias Mirabaje and Paulo Machado are yet to exert any influence in the Islanders’ proceedings on the pitch. 

Given their strength on paper, Jorge Costa will demand improvement from these players after the break.


NorthEast United – Better output from wide players


ATK NorthEast United ISL

The Highlanders will wish for a better output from wide areas so as to unlock the goalscorer in Bartholomew Ogbeche. The former PSG man has struggled for service from both the centre and wide areas of the field but the immediate concern will be the displays of wingers Redeem Tlang and Nikhil Kadam. 

They will also need better support from their full-backs, namely Keegan Pereira, Robert Lalthlamuana and Reagan Singh. Much will be expected from them if the Highlanders are to deliver upon the early promise offered. 

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ISL 2018-19: Energetic Kerala Blasters undone by Bhumij’s moment of brilliance – football news

Till the very end of the Indian Super League (ISL) encounter between Kerala Blasters and Mumbai City FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, it seemed the Men in Yellow would ease their way to a second win on the trot and go top of the table. 

But a moment of brilliance from young Pranjal Bhumij, sent on as a second-half substitute more in hope than design, levelled the scores and rescued a point for Jorge Costa’s men. 

On the balance of play, Mumbai City badly needed such a moment to score. They were lethargic, passive and looked nothing like a side that had it in them to score a goal. 

Mumbai City’s midfield, consisting of Raynier Fernandes, Paulo Machado and Sehnaj Singh, came up cropper on the night. Both of them were bypassed with ease by the Kerala midfield which had a lot of energy and exuberance in the form of young Sahal Abdul Samad and Nikola Krcmarevic. 

Sehnaj was anonymous to a point for large passages of play while Machado failed to offer anything going forward. It was no surprise to see Costa take Machado, one of his trusted lieutenants, off and bring on Matias Mirabaje. Raynier also endured a poor game. 

It seemed as if the Mumbai midfielders were not fit enough, leading one to question their pre-season preparations. 

As a result, most of Mumbai City’s attacks originated through the wings. Especially the right flank where Arnold Issoko found a lot of joy. But the lack of imagination and cutting edge in the final third would come back to haunt them. 

Kerala Blasters vs Mumbai City ISL 2018/19

Rafael Bastos pulled off a convincing invisible man act, leaving the Islanders short of men in attack while Moudou Sougou also failed to sparkle. Whatever chance he did get, Sougou managed to waste like when he shot wide after Dheeraj Singh spilt a high-ball inside the box. 

Jorge Costa has a lot of work to do, especially with regards to his team’s fitness. 

Kerala Blasters, on the other hand, will rue their inability to hold on to their lead and make it two wins out of two. The Men in Yellow were good value for their lead in the first half and did have their chances to seal the result in the second. 

Their wingers, Seiminlen Doungel and Halicharan Narzary, were a handful for Mumbai City with their energy levels making a difference. The first goal did stem from the duo after Krcmarevic released Doungel who, in turn, found Narzary inside the box. 

Their forwards, Matej Poplatnik and Slavisa Stojanovic, also seem to have a good understanding.

While that may be, Kerala Blasters do have a problem they need to resolve. While it is good to see them hand out chances to a young goalkeeper like Dheeraj Singh, it was evident that he is not ready for top-flight football. 

He might be a decent shot-stopper but has tonnes to learn when it comes to being an all-round goalkeeper. His decision-making, when it came to collecting crosses and high-balls was atrocious on the night and he could have gifted Mumbai City an equaliser on several occasions when he would come out charging and end up losing the ball. 

His collection from low-crosses and shots is also not clean and leaves a lot to be desired. Although he had a cleansheet against ATK, Coppell’s team had failed to test him properly in the ISL opener. 

But, on the whole, Blasters seem to have made a good start to the season and if not for one moment of magic, they would have gone top of the table. 

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ISL 2018-19: A game of two halves for Mumbai City FC’s Jorge Costa – football news

Mumbai City FC’s Indian Super League (ISL) campaign started on a losing note at home with the Jorge Costa’s men sinking to a 0-2 defeat to Jamshedpur FC on Tuesday.

A 28th minute header from Mario Arques and an added-time goal by Pablo Morgado sealed the three points for the visitors. Cesar Ferrando’s men were in control of the first-half but the home side came out strongly in the second-half and threatened Jamshedpur’s goals multiple times before being sucker punched at the death.

Analysing the game, Costa said,” It was a game of two halves. In the first-half, it was not so good. The players were not confident with the ball which is normal for the first game.

“The players played a very good second half and had many chances to score a goal, a lot. In the last five minutes, I didn’t like the way we played. It is not because of the goal we suffered but I did not like the last five minutes.”

“In the first half, we did not see a lot of chances. In the second half, we tried to attack more and we took some risks. In the last five minutes, we lose completely the ball possession and they scored the second goal. That is why I said that I did not like the last five or seven minutes,” the Portuguese continued.

The 46-year-old took encouragement from the side’s second half performance but stressed that their display in the dying minutes had left a sour taste in his mouth.

“We had more confidence in the second half and we created a lot of chances to score. We scored two goals – offside or not, I don’t know, I didn’t see. We were better, we were very close to the goals. In two days, we will play again but it’s okay,” he stated.

When asked to comment on the match officials’ performance in the match, Costa replied, “No I cannot do that. We have three teams on the field. One I can control. The other two, I cannot. I can be honest about the things that Mumbai City can do or not do.”

The hosts carved out some great chances in the second half but were wasteful at times in front of goal.

When asked if poor finishing had been a primary factory in Mumbai’s loss, Costa refused to put the blame on his players but chose to praise the display of Jamshedpur custodian Subhasish Roy instead.

“We had two very good one-on-one chances which were stopped by their goalkeeper. The most difficult is not to score, it is to arrive there. Then, it is the luck, it is the quality, it is a lot of things. Also, we are not playing alone. Their goalkeeper made some very good saves. That is okay, we will try to be better next time,” he said.

Giving his thoughts on the two goals conceded by his defence on the night, the Portuguese said, “In the first goal, it was scored from the second (far) post from a tight tangle. It was very good finishing.”

“In the second goal, I have already said. In the last five or ten minutes, we did a lot of stupid things.”

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ISL 2018-19: Mumbai City coach Jorge Costa hopes to get three points against Jamshedpur – football news

Mumbai City FC begin their Indian Super League (ISL) campaign as they play host to Jamshedpur FC at the Mumbai Football Arena on Tuesday. 

After finishing seventh last season The Islanders have made wholesale changes to their squad to turn the tables. Former CFR Cluj coach Jorge Costa has joined the side in place of Costa Rican Alexandre Guimaraes. 

The coach seemed confident about picking up the three points against Jamshedpur after a successful pre-season in Thailand. 

“We are excited to start our first game. It is always difficult to play the first game but our players have quality and I hope that they will put up a fight and we will get the three points. We played seven friendly games. We are scoring a lot of goals. This made me happy. Let us see what we can do in our first game tomorrow but I hope to be happy with our performance,” said Costa.

The Portuguese coach informed that there are two injury concerns in his squad including Davinder Singh who is suspected to be out for the season with a knee injury. He also said that his first target will be to finish among the top four teams. 

“We are ready to start the season. I know that the team finished seventh the previous season. But a lot of things have changed since then. New players have come in. Our first target is to qualify for the playoffs and finish in the top 4. After that, we will see,” stated Costa. 

The coach acknowledged that he does not have much information on Jamshedpur but remains confident that his side has the quality to put up a good show.

“To be honest since this is the first game I do not have a lot of information (on JFC). I don’t want to expect, as they have changed coach and also the players. He has a lot of experience. I am not the kind of coach who cannot play without information. The most important thing for me is to know my players well and to see what we can do on the filed and I am sure we will do very well. 

“We played seven friendly games. We are scoring a lot of goals. This made me happy. Let us see what we can do in our first game tomorrow but I hope to be happy with our performance,” concluded the coach.

 

 

 

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ISL 2018-19: Mumbai City FC squad analysis – Can The Islanders make it to the play-offs? – football news

Mumbai City FC will look to shrug off memories of what was a disappointing 2017-18 season where they finished seventh. The Islanders have undergone a massive overhaul over the summer with some interesting signings.

Can the Mumbai brigade end their trophy drought this season? What is certain is that they will be one among the contenders.

Coach

Pacos de Ferriera coach Jorge Costa

After two seasons under Alexandre Guimaraes, Mumbai City have parted ways with the Costa Rican and brought in Portuguese manager Jorge Costa. The former FC Porto player has the experience of managing Portuguese side Braga and Gabon national team.

The Portuguese is amongst the pragmatic group of coaches who believe that the result is what matters and the style of play is secondary. This is a breakaway from the usual Spanish syndicate which is ever growing in the Indian Super League (ISL).

New signings

Indian players: Ravi Kumar, Kunal Sawant, Subhashis Bose, Shouvik Ghosh, Souvik Chakraborty, Anwar Ali, Bikramjeet Singh, Mohammed Rafique, Milan Singh, Bipin Singh, Raynier Fernandes, Alen Deory.

Foreign players: Marko Klinsura, Matias Mirabaje, Paulo Machado, Rafael Bastos, Moudou Sougou, Arnold Issoko.

Notable signings:

Paulo Machado Dinamo Zagreb 25082015

Other than Lucian Goian, all the other players have been replaced this season. The most notable signing among the overseas players is Portuguese midfielder Paulo Machado who has played for the likes of FC Porto and Olympiakos. Forwards Moudou Sougou and Rafael Bastos are also expected to add firepower. 

Mumbai City FC have added several big Indian names to their squad this season. Defenders Subhasish Bose, who recently led the India U-23 side to SAFF Cup final, has joined the Islanders. They have also added players who were in form last season – Souvik Chakraborty, Shouvik Ghosh, Raynier Fernandes, Vignesh Dakshinamurthy and the likes. 

Strength & Weakness:

Mumbai boast a very strong midfield this season. Along with Machado and Mirabaje, they have a host of talented Indian players like Raynier Fernandes, Sehnaj Singh, Mohammed Rafique and Vignesh Dakshinamurthy who impressed in I-League second division last year. 

Unlike their midfield, Mumbai’s central defence is not very strong. They have brought in Serbian defender Marko Klisura alongside Goian but their Indian options – Bikramjit Singh and Anwar Ali are not up to the mark. 

Complete Squad: 

Goalkeepers: Amrinder Singh, Kunal Sawant, Ravi Kumar

Defenders: Anwar Ali, Bikramjeet Singh, Davinder Singh, Lucian Goian, Marko Klisura, Souvik Chakraborty, Shouvik Ghosh, Subhasish Bose

Midfielders:  Raynier Fernandes, Matías Mirabaje, Milan Singh, Arnold Issoko, Sehnaj Singh, Vignesh Dakshinamurthi, Paulo Machado, Mohammed Rafique, Bipin Singh, Milan Singh, Sanju Pradhan

Forwards: Modou Sougou, Alen Deory, Pranjal Bhumij and Rafael Bastos

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ISL 2018-19: Time for Mumbai City FC midfielder Md. Rafique to reinvent himself – football news

Mohammed Rafique is a household name in West Bengal courtesy of his lengthy playing stint in the Kolkata Maidan. The Sodpur-born midfielder comes from a humble background with his father working at a jute mill to make ends meet. 

But that not deter a young Rafique from following his passion and he joined the youth ranks of Tollygunge Agragami. After graduating from the academy, he made the leap to senior level at the tender age of 18 when he was signed by United Sports in 2010. Although he managed only a handful of appearances in his first two seasons, he went on to establish himself as an undisputed starter in the final two seasons under the guidance of current NorthEast United head coach Eelco Schattorie.  

When United Sports decided to shut shop, Rafique was immediately lapped up by Kolkata giants East Bengal in 2014. Since then he has been plying his trade with the Red and Golds until he decided to jump ship and join Mumbai City FC for the upcoming season.  He has also appeared for ATK and Kerala Blasters on loan when the Indian Super League (ISL) and I-League had two different windows in the footballing calendar. 

Md Rafique East Bengal Gokulam FC I-League 2017/2018

Rafique’s career has not had a smooth sailing. He has had his flashes of brilliance but has never been a consistent performer. He shot to instant fame when he scored the winning goal of the inaugural edition of the ISL when he headed past current Kerala Blasters head coach David James deep in injury time to land the trophy in Kolkata. In spite of scoring the tournament-winner, he did not find any takers in the ISL draft in 2015 although he was later roped in as a replacement by ATK. 

But Rafique could not impress Habas once again and was primarily used as a substitute. In eight appearances, he managed to get only 279 minutes on the pitch. His passing numbers did not even reach the three-digit mark while he managed to have only two shots at goal. 

But Rafique had been performing well in the local leagues. He had been among the goals for East Bengal regularly in the Calcutta Football League and helped them lift their record sixth successive title. He notched up four goals including a strike in the Kolkata derby and came in for praise from Trevor Morgan for his versatility. 

But once again his form deserted him on the national stage. Although he racked up 658 minutes in 12 appearances in I-League, he found the net only once whereas his assist column remained blank. 

A recurrent problem throughout his career has been his inconsistency. His fluctuating performances have never helped him realise his full potential. 

Mohammed Rafique Chennaiyin FC Kerala Blasters FC ISL season 3 2016

In 2016, he joined Kerala Blasters as ATK preferred Jewel Raja and Bikash Jairu ahead of him. Although he found regular minutes at the start of the tournament under Steve Coppell, his lack of impressive performances relegated him to the bench at the business end of the league stage. In 805 minutes, he sprayed 292 passes with only 53% of them finding a player in yellow. 

In 2017-18 I-League, he once managed to grab his share of fleeting brilliance when he scored a stunner against Gokulam Kerala FC to fire East Bengal to the top of the table. But as the season progressed, his form waned. Rafique looked clueless in the 2-0 derby loss against Mohun Bagan and apart from assisting a late-winner against Indian Arrows, he rarely managed to contribute notably in front of goal. 

Rafique mumbai

Also, he was poor for India in their away game against the Kyrgyz Republic in the Asian Cup qualifiers earlier this year and has not made another appearance for the national team since. 

The upcoming season will be his first when he would spend an entire calendar without kicking a ball for a Kolkata-based side. With age on his side, the 25-year-old midfielder can kickstart a new phase in his career. Getting minutes will be a tough job for Rafique as the Islanders boast of some notable names at the centre of the park in the likes of Sehnaj Singh, Matias Mirabaje, Milan Singh, Paulo Machado and Raynier Fernandes. 

But Rafique can play on the wings as well as the midfield – a trait which come useful. Head coach Jorge Costa has given him three-starts in four pre-season games which is a welcome sign for him. If the former ATK player can make the most of the opportunities handed to him and more importantly show some more consistency, this can be a new beginning for him. 

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ISL 2018-19 can be the breakthrough season for a host of youngsters – football news

The Indian Super League (ISL) has been the perfect breeding ground for young players since its inception. If Sandesh Jhingan and Romeo Fernandes were the bright spots in the first season, Thongkhosiem Haokip and Jeje Lalpekhlua stole the spotlight in the second. Chennaiyin FC’s Jerry Lalrinzuala was the standout youngster in the third season.

In the previous ISL season, FC Pune City’s Sarthak Golui and Sahil Panwar, Kerala Blasters’ Lalruatthara and Chennaiyin FC’s Anirudh Thapa earned the plaudits for lighting up the pitch with their string of impressive performances.  

There has been a remarkable shift in the transfer policy in the Indian transfer market. While most ISL teams have been reluctant to spend big on marquee players they have not shied away from splurging the cash on future stars. While 17-year old defender Anwar Ali was snapped up by Mumbai City FC for Rs 30 lakhs, a record-breaking amount for an U-18 player, Chennaiyin were prudent enough to sign Abhijit Sarkar, Deepak Tangri and Rahim Ali. ATK have signed up Boris Singh.

All these players will only join the ISL outfits ahead of the 2019-20 season as they will continue with their development with Indian Arrows under the watchful eyes of Floyd Pinto. 

Leaving aside the U-19 players there has also been a mass exodus of promising players from several I-League clubs to ISL who are keen to make a mark in the top tier of Indian football. SK Faiaz put in impressive shifts for Mohun Bagan in I-League 2017-18 and was signed by ATK. Similarly, Sinivasan Pandiyan and Michael Soosairaj of Chennai City FC made a move for greener pastures as they were roped in by Chennaiyin FC and Jamshedpur FC.

There are several players who will be plying their trade in ISL 5 who have shown promise at various other domestic tournaments and are now ready to take that leap to establish themselves in the ISL. 

Let us look at the 10 youngsters who will be making their debut and can be expected to shine this season: 

1. SK Faiaz (ATK) 

Sk.Faiaz Mohun Bagan Churchill Brothers SC I-League 2017/2018

The 23-year-old winger had put in stellar performances for Mohun Bagan in the previous edition of I-League. Although he was predominantly used on the right wing, the Howrah-born winger was comfortable plying his trade on both flanks. He has pace to burn and the tricks up his sleeves often give the full backs a run for their money. He notched up four assists and two goals for the Maroon and Greens during the 1197 minutes he spent on the pitch. He is expected to challenge ATK’s Hitesh Sharma for a starting berth who had been a regular for Teddy Sheringham and later under Ashley Westwood. 

2. Michael Soosairaj (Jamshedpur FC) 

Soosairaj Chennai City

The former Chennai City FC attacking midfielder was one of the best players in I-League 2017-18 and has been signed by Jamshedpur FC. The Tamil Nadu born player was the midfield dynamo for the men in green and his creativity proved to be decisive in unlocking gritty opposition defences. He provided 19 successful key passes in 18 appearances which is amongst the highest in the league. His partnership with Sinivasan Pandiyan was one of the few positives for the Coimbatore based side as they finished eighth in the league table. Soosairaj should be the perfect fit for head coach Cesar Ferrando.

3. Kivi Zhimomi (North East United FC) 

Gokulam Kerala East bengal Kivi Zhimomi

Kivi Zhimomi became the first player from Nagaland to sign for an ISL outfit when he joined NorthEast United FC ahead of this season. He forged a well oiled partnership with Henry Kisekka upfront with Gokulam Kerala and found the net on two occasions which included a strike against Kolkata giants East Bengal. Under the guidance of Eelco Schattorie, Arthur Papas and Avram Grant the forward is touted to make further improvements in his game to help NEUFC secure their first play-off spot in five seasons. He has previously played for Mohammedan Sporting Club at Kolkata and Rangdajied United FC at Shillong.

4. Shubham Sarangi (Delhi Dynamos)

Shubham Sarangi Delhi Dynamos

The 18-year-old forward was signed by Delhi Dynamos in the January transfer window of 2017 and was immediately sent out on a training stint with the Aspire Academy to further his football development. He was part of the India’s preparatory squad for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup but the youngster ultimately did not make the cut for Luis Norton de Matos’ final squad for the marquee event. Josep Gombau’s possession-based brand of football is tailor-made for the young forward and he hopes to establish himself firmly in Delhi’s squad this season. 

5. Vignesh Dakshinamurthy (Mumbai City FC)

Vignesh Dakshinamurthy

The 20-year-old had been the midfield general for Ozone FC and was an integral figure behind the Bengaluru based side’s brilliant run in the 2nd division I-League. Vignesh has been with the national team’s age-group sides for the past three years right from his Under-17 days. He spent the first three years in the Ozone Academy and then broke into the first team, aged just seventeen. The Islanders have snapped him up as he looks to have a promising future ahead. He can play as a left-half.  

6.  Raynier Fernandes (Mumbai City)

Raynier

Mumbai City have signed another promising midfielder in Raynier Fernandes who was an important cog at the centre of the park for Mohun Bagan. Fernandes, along with Yuta Kinowaki and Cameron Watson, provided stability to Bagan’s midfield and was equally confident in moving forward with the ball. He also oozes confidence as a defensive screen which allows greater freedom to his more attack-minded team-mates. The 22-year old completed 599 passes in I-league last season with an accuracy of 84% which is a testimony to his brilliant passing ability. 

7. Sairuat Kima (Bengaluru FC)

Sairuat Kima DSK Shivajians FC Aizawl FC I-League 2017

The 20-year-old defender was picked up by Jamshedpur FC in the previous edition of ISL but is yet to make a start in the league, albeit was given a start in the Super Cup tie against FC Goa. A product of Mizoram-based Chanmari FC, he made his top tier debut with DSK Shivajians in 2016-17 season. The lanky defender has joined Bengaluru FC this season where he will have to struggle for a starting place with veteran campaigners like Juanan and Albert Serran. It remains to be seen if he will make his ISL debut for Bengaluru FC.

8. Redeem Tlang (NEUFC)

Redeem Tlang Shillong Lajong FC Churchill Brothers SC I-League 2017/2018

The 23-year-old winger has become a household name in the domestic circuit for his exploits with Shillong Lajong for the last couple of seasons. He is known for his inch-perfect crosses from the flanks and also has a knack to score important goals. He has the experience to succeed at the highest level and under the guidance of master tacticians like Avram Grant and Schattorie, the youngster is set to be an important weapon in NEUFC’s armoury. 

9. Sinivasan Pandiyan (Chennaiyin FC)

Sinivasan Pandiyan; Chennai City

Sinivasan Pandiyan joined Chennaiyin FC at the back of an impressive season with Chennai City FC in I-League. His exceptional passing ability kept Chennai’s midfield ticking. With 86 per cent success rate in ball distribution, he was one of the orchestrators at the centre of the park for V Soundararajan. He now has to step up to the plate and impress coach John Gregory who is known to demand huge workrate from his players. 

10. Jithin MS (Kerala Blasters)

Jithin MS Kerala Santosh Trophy 2018

Jithin MS scripted history Kerala Blasters paid Rs. 5 lakh as a transfer fee to Kerala FC to sign him on a three-year deal. The Thrissur-born player was lethal in the attacking third for Kerala state team in the Santosh Trophy and was the joint top scorer in the tournament. His goalmouth exploits helped Kerala lift the trophy after 14 years as they beat West Bengal in Kolkata. Although it will not be easy for Jithin to break into the starting XI from the onset, but he has the firepower to make an impact in the ISL.

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