Margao: Mumbai City FC star Sunil Chhetri wants to see more Indians start upfront for their respective teams as the Hero Indian Super League 2 nears the 100-goal mark, saying the thought of scoring the landmark goal "sounds special".
Sunil Chhetri. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
The second edition of ISL has already seen 99 goals being scored after 38 matches, putting it well on course to eclipse last year's tally of 129 for the entire season.
So far this season, there were just two goalless draws as teams look to attack more than ever before. One man who has been scoring lot of goals is Chhetri and the India captain is now the joint highest goalscorer, alongside Chennaiyin FC's Colombian striker Stiven Mendoza, with six goals.
"To be honest, scoring the 100th goal sounds special but it won't be. To be honest, it doesn't matter who scores for Mumbai City. I just hope we score the 100th goal against FC Goa tomorrow and we win the game," said Chhetri. Chhetri was pleased with the fact that several Indian players have got on to the score-sheet this year but wants franchisees to field more Indian players upfront.
"It's definitely encouraging to see more Indians score when you see every ISL team plays with two foreign strikers, except may be for Robin Singh and (Mohammad) Rafi. I would like to see more Indian players play as strikers. Despite all this, Indians are doing well," said Chhetri. As the ISL awaits its 100th goal in the second year, the focus also shifts to FC Goa midfielder Romeo Fernandes.
It was Romeo who scored the 100th goal in the inaugural ISL against NorthEast United FC. The match was eventually tied 1-1 but Romeo had a moment to cherish.
"Initially I did not realise that I had scored the 100th goal. It was only later that I got to know that when the ISL reached its century goal mark, I was the one who got it. When I scored that goal, I was more excited and happy that I scored one for the team," recalled Romeo.
Interestingly, the India midfielder became the 500th player to represent India at the senior level when coach Stephen Constantine chose to start with him against Guam in a World Cup qualifier last week. FC Goa are now leading the table with 15 points and Romeo believes the players will have a spring in their step.
"There is always added motivation when we play in front of our home fans. I am not someone who looks at personal milestones. I just want to do my best and help the team to win, whether it's scoring or assisting," said Romeo.