The Indian Super League (ISL) has welcomed some of the biggest names in world football in the brief history of the franchise and its rapidly expanding global footprint is raising its profile and attracting more overseas imports year-on-year. With the 2020/21 ISL campaign over halfway through, below we look at six of the leading imports that have made a considerable impact on the ISL stage in recent months.
Veteran Spanish forward Igor Angulo has enjoyed a long and illustrious career in the game, with his most fruitful period coming in the last four seasons with Polish side Gornik Zabrze. The Bilbao-born frontman bagged 80 goals in just 137 appearances for the Ekstraklasa outfit. Not content at going out on a high for his career, Angulo opted to make the move to FC Goa last autumn, signing a one-year deal. It’s fair to say the transfer has been a rip-roaring success so far, with ten goals in 13 games. Angulo is currently the top scorer in the ISL, helping to keep FC Goa firmly in ISL playoff contention.
33-year-old attacking powerhouse Roy Krishna has been a stalwart in Oceania football for well over a decade now. The Fijian international first shot to prominence in New Zealand football for Waitakere United, before joining the Wellington Phoenix who ply their trade in the A-League. After a glittering five-year stay with Wellington, Krishna made the bold move to ATK in 2019 and his 15 goals in 21 appearances more than endeared him to the ATK faithful. He’s followed that up again with nine goals in 14 games thus far, cementing him as one of the ISL’s most feared overseas assassins.
Adam Le Fondre
34-year-old Adam Le Fondre is another striker that’s arrived in the ISL during the twilight of his career. After working his way through the English lower leagues, he eventually secured a place in Reading’s team in the iconic English Premier League. A move to the A-League in Australia with Sydney FC followed several years later in 2018, where he proved to be a major hit, scoring 39 times in 57 appearances before signing for Mumbai City on-loan. He’s averaged a goal every other game for the current ISL leaders. Without Le Fondre, Sydney FC have continued to go from strength to strength on the A-League ladder. The team are currently the bookies’ favorites to win the Grand Finals again in 2021. Competitive A-League odds can be found at Betway, spanning the Final Series playoff and the pinnacle of the A-League Grand Final, with dozens of available markets per game. The sportsbook also offers online live streaming of many A-League games, allowing users to wager on Le Fondre’s employers in-play. The arrival of Le Fondre will also help to develop City’s promising homegrown forwards including Assamese starlet Pranjal Bhumij.
Journeyman Spanish central midfielder Alberto Noguera is enjoying something of a new lease of life in the ISL. The 31-year-old has played for no fewer than 12 clubs in the last 12 years, with the Madrid-born schemer having something of a nomadic football career thus far. He signed for FC Goa on a two-year contract in September 2020, looking to put down some roots on India’s south-west coast. He’s not looked back so far and has become a key part of the Goa engine room, creating six goals in 11 games this term.
It’s not just in the final third where the ISL’s overseas imports are making a big impression in 2020/21. They are providing a major presence in the backline of the leading ISL teams too. Aside from the dominant force of Spaniard Tiri at ATK Mohun Bagan, towering Nigerian international center-back Stephen Eze has been a major strength for Jamshedpur FC this term since signing from Kazakh Premier League side FC Tobol. At 6ft 6” Eze has been a supreme aerial presence for Owen Coyle’s side at both ends of the pitch, scoring three times too in 15 appearances. Eze also tops the ISL charts for the most interceptions with 46 in 15 games.
Dependable Australian full-back Scott Neville has plied his trade in Australia’s A-League since 2008. The 32-year-old has been a steady presence at right-back for the likes of Perth Glory, Newcastle Jets and the Western Sydney Wanderers. Neville opted to join East Bengal on-loan, who made their inaugural entry for the 2020/21 ISL season. Neville is near the top of the list for the number of passes completed so far this term, with 719 in his 15 appearances, underlining his importance to retaining possession and building up play for Robbie Fowler’s men.
With just five games left for most teams in the regular ISL season, their overseas stars will come into their own in the end-of-season showdown and the battle for the playoffs.