3. Cleiton Silva
Cleiton Silva has been one of the few bright sparks in what has been an underwhelming season for Bengaluru FC. Cleiton Silva, all time top scorer of the Thai League, was signed from Supharburi and has had a great first season with Bengaluru FC. He scored on his debut against FC Goa and has featured in 18 of the 20 matches Bengaluru FC have played this season. He has recorded 7 goals and 4 assists in his first season in the ISL. During his 1st season, Cleiton has played in a variety of positions for BFC. Under Carles Cuadrat, Cleiton was deployed on the right wing and under Naushad Moosa, Cleiton has played as a winger, as a striker and even as a false nine.
Adept with both his feet, Cleiton has donned the role of a creator for BFC this season. With the prolonged absence of Dimas and Ashique, Cleiton has stepped up to become the creative spark for BFC. His goal contributions (11) are the most by any winger in ISL this season. One of the best qualities that Cleiton possesses is that he is two-footed, and he can strike on goal with both his feet. Cleiton still has a role to play for BFC in their AFC Campaign and he would he hoping to continue to provide the goods for BFC under new coach Marco Pezzaiuoli.
2. Luis Machado
Luis Machado, the flying Portuguese, has been Northeast United FC’s, if not the most, one of the most important players this season. He has contributed with 7 goals and 2 assists this season for Khalid Jhamil’s side in their run into the playoffs. Signed from Liga NOS outfit, Moreirense FC, Machado had revealed that he wanted to take up a challenge of coming to India just like Portuguese legends Simao Sabarosa and Helder Postiga. His brace against Bengaluru FC, caught a lot of admiration from fans and professionals alike and there has been no looking back ever since. Machado’s pace, trickery and a bullet of a shot did remind all of us of a certain other Portuguese winger.
Machado has complemented the NEUFC attack with his runs and crosses. His crosses in particular have caused opposition defenders problems with a target man like Brown or Sylla feeding on them. Machado has 53 crosses which are highest amongst foreigners this season. He has also had 50 shots on goal which is highest for a winger this season and he is only behind Ortiz in shots on target (22) amongst wingers. With injuries to Brown, and Sylla not hitting top form, Machado has constantly chipped in with important goals and has also turned provider on many occasions. He has also strung a good partnership with NEUFC’s talisman Gallego, with the latter always looking to feed Machado and with his trademark long balls. Luis Machado has been one of the best wingers of the season and his contribution has certainly been vital in NEUFC’s run into the playoffs.