ISL 2020-21: Chinglensana Singh – Hyderabad FC’s surprise package in defence

The defender has registered more minutes with Hyderabad (1519) this term than his three seasons with FC Goa (1352)

Chinglensana Singh, a.k.a. Sana, has been an integral part of Hyderabad FC in the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL). After beginning the season as an unused subsitute in the 1-0 win over Odisha, he started in all the subsequent 17 games at the heart of The Nizams’  defense.

Considered a surplus at FC Goa over the last two seasons when Mourtada Fall and Carlos Pena were the preferred centre-back pairing, the 24-year-old made a complete circle by becoming an indispensable member at his present team that even Adil Khan found it hard to displace Sana after returning from injury.

After suffering the three defeats in December, Hyderabad coach Manuel Marquez had mentioned, “His (Adil’s) chance to play is very close but at this moment, the style of the team is very different. In all the teams of the world, when you receive three consecutive defeats, you always remember the players that are not playing. Adil for sure is a fantastic player and he deserves a chance to play.”

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Adil has since joined FC Goa in January, albeit till the end of this season, as Marquez explained, “Both players (Adil and Sana) have totally opposite styles. Adil is more aggressive and Sana is very good with the ball. Maybe they can play together. But it’s true (Adil couldn’t displace Sana) and we spoke with Adil more than once. It’s difficult when your centre-back (Sana) is performing (well) to change the players. For me, Sana is maybe technically the best Indian centre-back (in the ISL).”

Player Team Passes Successful
Passes Ivan Gonzalez* FC Goa 875 754 Chinglensana Singh Hyderabad 807 689 Mourtada Fall Mumbai City 771 655 Odei Onaindia Hyderabad 753 639 Scott Neville East Bengal 758 620

* Stat before Goa’s 3-1 win over Odisha FC

Sana has been exceptionally good in ball distribution. With 689 successful passes, he is only second to FC Goa’s Ivan Gonzalez (754) and the only Indian to feature in the top five in the said category that also includes his defensive partner Odei Onaindia.

Chinglensana Singh Odei Onaindia Hyderabad ISL 7

Player Team Passing
Accuracy (%) James Donachie FC Goa 86.6 Ivan Gonzalez FC Goa 86.2 Chinglensana Singh Hyderabad 85.4 Mourtada Fall Mumbai City 85 Odei Onaindia Hyderabad 84.9

Sana has also made 26 interceptions in 17 games. Among Indian centre backs, only ATK Mohun Bagan’s Pritam Kotal (34 in 16 games) and Odisha’s Gaurav Bora (35 in 17 games) have more. On the other hand, Sana has committed only 26 tackles, ninth among players in his own team.

But in a setup where the style of play demands building play from the back, he also has the third best passing accuracy amongst all defenders who have completed a minimum of 500 passes in the current campaign of the league (85.4%) – again the only Indian among the top five that also includes Onaindia. The former Indian U19 international has completed 689 of his 807 passes.

Chinglensana Singh Hyderabad ISL 7

Player Team Touches Asish Rai Hyderabad 1260 Akash Mishra Hyderabad 1223 Ivan Gonzalez* FC Goa 1029 Mourtada Fall Mumbai City 978 Ricky Lallawmawma Jamshedpur 972 Seriton Fernandes* FC Goa 969 Reagan Singh Chennaiyin 952 Scott Neville East Bengal 942 Chinglensana Singh Hyderabad 931 Odei Onaindia Hyderabad 921

* Stat before Goa’s 3-1 win over Odisha FC

Sana also features in the top-10 defenders who have had the most touches in the current campaign of the Indian Super League with 931 touches. He is ninth in the list and the only Indian centre back among the lot. There are other defenders like Asish Rai etc but they are all full-backs.

EMBED ONLY Chinglensana Singh Hyderabad ISL 7 Touch Map 02162021

As such, the above factors have explained what has made Hyderabad tacticial Marquez choose Chinglensana Singh over Adil Khan as his Indian centre back at Hyderabad FC this season. How the duo could start together next season will be an interesting bet to place. 



All stats in this article are provided by Opta, and are correct till the game between Hyderabad and Kerala Blasters on 16 February 2021.


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