Two ATK Mohun Bagan players make it to the list after their scintillating triumph over Odisha.
The knockout stage of the ISL 2022-23 has come to an end, and we now have our semi-finalists, who are going to battle it all out to get their hands on that glittering piece of silverware, that is, the ISL trophy.
With this being the very first time that the knockouts were introduced in ISL, football fans and protagonists throughout the nation made an early assumption that this would add much more drama and excitement to the ISL 2022-23 campaign. It is pretty safe to say, that the games lived up to their expectations, as the two knockout stage clashes had no shortage of drama and controversy, and also the quality of football played was immaculate.
From Sunil Chettri’s quick free-kick that enraged Kerala Blasters, so much so that they left the field of play, to a staggering display of utmost footballing brilliance from Juan Ferrando’s men, we couldn’t have expected more from this phase.
Even though the team effort from all four sides was at its very best, some players truly made an impact like no other, and actually stood out from the rest of the crowd. Today, we look at three such players from the ISL 2022-23 knockout round, and rank them on the basis of their performances.
3. Sunil Chhetri (Bengaluru FC)
Sunil Chhetri celebrating the win over Kerala Blasters. (Courtesy: ISL Media)
Sunil Chettri, the Captain, leader, legend of Indian football, has reminded us time and time again, as to why he is one of the finest footballers to have been born on this mystic land. His heroics for both the national team, as well as his club Bengaluru FC, have brought awe to our faces on several occasions, and even now at 38, this man is not stopping.
After coming off from the bench in the 72nd minute, Sunil made a major impact on Bengaluru’s morale, and alleviated their play. The player presented some big chances, and was on point with his pressing as well. Also, it was Sunil’s quick thinking and presence of mind that helped him send a delightful chip above the reach of Prabhsukhan Gill, and into the back of the net, to break the deadlock in extra-time. After Kerala Blasters left the pitch, the officials waited for some time and declared Bengaluru FC as the winners.
2. Dimitri Petratos (ATK Mohun Bagan)
Petratos was a joy to watch against Odisha FC, as the Aussie was working his magic like never before, and indeed put on one of his best shifts this season. The 30-year-old predator was like a beast at the front for ATKMB, and Odisha had no answers for the kind of threat he and his attacking counterparts were posing.
Dimitri Petratos in action against Odisha FC. (Courtesy: ISL Media)
Dimitri’s sheer awareness and presence of mind led him to play an early corner that was rolled onto Hugo Boumous’ path by Manvir Singh, giving Bagan the much needed lead against Odisha. Following this, Petratos helped his side put the game to bed by striking an absolute worldie to land a two goal cushion and glide his team into the ISL 2022-23 semis.
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1. Carl McHugh (ATK Mohun Bagan)
Carl McHugh lodging a shot against Odisha FC. (Courtesy: ISL Media)
Carl McHugh’s performance against Odisha was a prime example of the undeniable quality and immaculate skill that the Irishman possesses. ATK Mohun Bagan’s #8 was exceptional both defensively as well as offensively, and was also awarded the Man of the Match award.
Throughout the game, McHugh dominated the midfield, and stood as a solid figure in an attempt to guard the backline. His incredible long balls into the path of speedy attackers like Liston Colaco and Manvir Singh, also posed a huge threat. In fact, it was McHugh who won the ball in Odisha’s half, that finally led to him assisting ATKMB’s second goal.
This incredible and savouring performance, added with his team’s victory, renders McHugh as the best performer from the knockout rounds of the ISL 2022-23.
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