Top 5 breakout stars of the 2022-23 Indian Super League
Irrespective of the address the trophy travels to at the end of the season, every campaign of the Indian Super League has one common aspect – the discovery of unknown Indian talents, who later prove to be mainstays in the Indian national team as well.
Following the likes of Liston Colaco, Lallianzuala Chhangte, and most recently, Naorem Mahesh Singh, we saw many such exciting talents who made a name for themselves in the 2022-23 ISL season as well, when they were given the opportunity and the platform to make their mark.
Let us have a look at the top five breakout stars of the season:
East Bengal will not want to remember this season going into the future, but among the few players they would want to carry forward into their next path is central defender Lalchungnunga. The 22-year-old joined the team from I-League club Sreenidi Deccan, but he did not look out of depth while playing against the big names.
The Torchbearers kept two clean sheets in the 19 matches that he played. Besides that, he was also among his team’s top five performers in terms of interceptions (25), successful passes (374) and touches (755).
#4 Brison Fernandes
Goa missed out on a playoff spot narrowly, finishing 7th with eight wins in 20 matches, but they did have a few bright prospects who could turn out to be assets for the team. The most notable among them was Brison Fernandes – the young defensive midfielder who also linked up in attacks.
A local lad, Brison made as many as 13 appearances for Pena’s team, which highlights the faith his manager had in his abilities. He scored three goals – one each against Jamshedpur, Odisha and Mumbai City. His knack for taking shots was evident, as he had a total of eight attempts in the league.
#3 Parthib Gogoi
Following the same pattern, our third mention is also a player who was one of the few positive aspects of an otherwise underperforming team. Absolutely nothing worked out according to plans for NorthEast United this season, except that they found a star in the making, in Parthib Gogoi.
Though still only 20 years of age, the Assamese was one of the Highlanders’ first names on the team sheet, making 18 appearances. He scored three goals – against Mumbai City, East Bengal and Chennaiyin, and also got an assist against the Marina Machans.
#2 Samik Mitra
While the first three names on our list were outfield players, our fourth name is a goalkeeper. Having previously represented Chennaiyin B, Samik Mitra was given a chance ahead of Debjit Majumder by head coach Thomas Brdaric, and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
The young custodian from West Bengal kept two clean sheets in the ten matches that he played for the Marina Machans. Besides that, he also made plenty of saves – 27 in total, with his average being nearly three saves per game.
#1 Aakash Sangwan
Although Chennaiyin could not make it to the playoffs, incidentally the top two places on our list belong to players from Brdaric’s team. While Samik was impressive under the sticks, Aakash Sangwan was excellent in the left-back role for the Marina Machans.
Aakash might be 27 years of age, but it was his first season in the ISL after six consecutive outings in the I-League. He jointly topped the assists column for his five assists – one each against East Bengal, NorthEast United, Jamshedpur, Hyderabad and Odisha.
Besides that, he also was among his team’s top three players in terms of successful tackles (28), touches (1226) and interceptions (33).