Wednesday, May 25, 2022

ISL Season 8: Top Five defenders in the Indian Super League 2021-22 season

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ISL Season 8: Over the years the Indian Super League has seen several stellar performances from defenders, be it foreign or Indian. Starting from the likes of Joselu, Cedric Hengbart to Henrique Sereno, Tiri and finally to the new rivals, the ISL has seen several players turn into vital cogs for their respective teams. Follow all the ISL 2021-22 LIVE Updates only on InsideSport.IN

This season has been no different, a lot of defenders have emerged as household names for almost every team but among them, not all of them have been consistent enough to make a difference for their team. Therefore we evaluate only this season’s performance to list out the top five defenders in the Indian Super League 2021-22 season.

Chinglensana Singh

ISL Season 8: Top Five defenders in the Indian Super League 2021-22 season
ISL Season 8: Top Five defenders in the Indian Super League 2021-22 season

Easily the most consistent Indian centre back from the last couple of seasons, Chinglensana Singh has gone from strength to strength. Although it has not been a sensational year for Hyderabad FC defensively, Sana has been one of the first names on the teamsheet for head coach Manolo Marquez.

Apart from his crisp passing ability, the Indian international also bring in great game reading skills and can throw in some crunching tackles with aplomb. The 25-year-old is also fleet-footed and can slot in as a fullback if needed. His adaptability allows him to be a great defender even in a three-man backline system.

Mourtada Fall

ISL Season 8: Top Five defenders in the Indian Super League 2021-22 season
ISL Season 8: Top Five defenders in the Indian Super League 2021-22 season

The man from Senegal who has won it all for the Islanders have been far from his best this season. But still, Mourtada Fall is surely one of the best defenders in the Indian Super League. Fall started off with a stable partnership with Rahul Bheke. But as the season went on Mumbai City struggled in defence as only Fall was not enough to cover up for all the mistakes that were happening.

The Senegalese centre back can play the ball out from the back and has a great physical presence. He always makes him useful during setpiece situations. Fall is the highest goalscoring defender in the ISL and most of them have come from headers from setpieces.

ISL Season 8 Transfers: NorthEast United bolster their backline by signing French defender Zakaria Diallo

Peter Hartley

ISL Season 8: Top Five defenders in the Indian Super League 2021-22 season
ISL Season 8: Top Five defenders in the Indian Super League 2021-22 season

One of the most underrated foreign defenders in the Indian Super League. Peter Hartley is someone who puts everything on the line for Jamshedpur FC and has had a great presence at the back for the Men of Steel. He has developed a great relationship with Brazilian defender Eli Sabia and the duo have helped Owen Coyle to maintain stability in defence. Allowing the likes of Greg Stewart, Jordan Murray and others to venture forward freely.

Hartley has plied his trade for several lower-division English clubs and has also featured in the Scottish Premiership with Motherwell FC. Therefore the Englishman brings in a lot of experience and has been a leader of men for the Men of Steel. This season he has looked better than ever as he wishes to take Jamshedpur FC to the playoffs for the first time in their club history.

Slavko Damjanovic

The Serbian defender joined Chennaiyin FC this season after Montenegrin tactician Bozidar Bandovic was appointed as the head coach of the Marina Machans. Damjanovic who is known for his exceptional game reading and no-nonsense attitude has helped Bandovic play a low block system with Damjanovic leading the backline along with Ariel Borysiuk in a three-man backline.

Damjanovic has plied his trade for clubs in Montenegro and Serbia and has rubbed shoulders with some of the top Serbian stars. His presence has created a major difference in defence for the Marina Machans. Apart from featuring in Montenegro and Serbia, Damjanovic has also plied his trade in teams from Uzbekistan, Hungary and even South Africa and now looking to make a mark in India.

Marco Leskovic

ISL Season 8: Top Five defenders in the Indian Super League 2021-22 season
ISL Season 8: Top Five defenders in the Indian Super League 2021-22 season

Marco Leskovic has caught a lot of eyes in his first season in India for the Kerala Blasters. The Croatian defender has brought balance and stability to the Kerala Blasters unit and has helped them string consecutive positive results. Leskovic defends with a lot of authority and is a pure leader at the back. His ability to move the ball from the back and his calmness make him one of the best defenders in the ISL.

Leskovic has featured in several Croatian outfits but his time at Dinamo Zagreb was stellar. He has won consecutive three Croatian league titles with Dinamo Zagreb from 2017 to 2020. He also won two Croatian Cup titles with Dinamo Zagreb back in the 2017-18 season.

Kerala Blasters have struggled to get their defensive structure right in recent years and finally, under Ivan Vukomanovic they have got the right players and are playing the best football in recent times.

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