The highlight of the ISL season seven has been the evolution Indian attackers Bipin Singh and Manvir Singh as goal scorers…
The seventh season of the Indian Super League (ISL) has been different, tough and yet a unique one. It has seen the arrival of the two Kolkata giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan into the ISL in different avatars.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic forced the organisers to host it at a centralised venue in Goa where the teams were kept in isolated bio-bubbles.
But the thing that stood out especially for Indian football was the emergence of quite a few Indian goal scorers. Bengaluru FC skipper Sunil Chhetri once again topped the Indian goal scorers chart with eight goals but Chhetri had stiff competition from players like Manvir Singh and Bipin Singh.
Other than Chhetri and Jeje Lalpekhlua previously, Indian attackers rarely have a noteworthy contribution towards their teams’ success. But ATK Mohun Bagan’s Manvir Singh and Mumbai City’s Bipin Singh after a very long time have emerged as key goal scorers for their respective teams.
Before joining the Mariners this season, Manvir Singh was just an impact substitute at FC Goa in the last three ISL campaigns. At Goa, Singh had played a total of 47 matches in three years. Yet he started in only seven games in total.
The then Goa coach Sergio Lobera used to utilise his vibrancy upfront mostly in the final quarter of the matches but he was hardly an important part of the Spanish coach’s plans. In three seasons at Goa, Singh managed to score only three goals.
But at ATK Mohun Bagan, Antonio Lopez Habas transformed him into a proper goal scorer and a match winner. Singh, this season is the second highest Indian goalscorer with six goals in 22 appearances. He scored in some crucial matches this season including the play-offs second leg against NorthEast United where his strike proved to be the winning goal for the Mariners.
Bipin Singh too has evolved a lot under Sergio Lobera at Mumbai City this season. The Manipuri winger has been playing in the ISL since 2017-18 but never has he had such an impact.
Under Lobera, Singh has scored five goals in 21 matches and is the third-highest goal scorer this season. He is also the only player to score a hat-trick this year which came in Mumbai’s thumping 6-0 win over Odisha in their penultimate league stage clash.
A notable mention for FC Goa’s Ishan Pandita as well who has scored four goals this season in roughly 120 minutes of football.
The emergence and evolution of Indian players like Manvir Singh and Bipin Singh is without a doubt a good sign for the Indian national team which is in dire need of quality goal scorers.