A Special Day for Naorem Mahesh
Naorem Mahesh, aged 24, displayed exceptional speed and remarkable vision during India’s triumphant 2-0 match against the Kyrgyz Republic thus highlighting his potential to create an impact in the future.
As the final whistle blew, the Indian fans erupted in wild celebration, thanking their lucky stars for the young gun who had stepped up when it mattered the most.
Naorem Mahesh may have only been on the field for 34 short and sweet minutes, but boy did he make them count!
The crowd went wild as the Imphal native made his second international appearance and proceeded to set the left wing ablaze. With every dash forward, he left defenders in his dust, his eyes eagerly scanning for even the slightest opportunity to charge towards the byline.
You could almost hear the gasps from the stands as he cut inside and delivered crosses with surgical precision. Sunil Chhetri may have scored the winning goal with his now-famous one-step penalty, but it was Mahesh who had stolen the show and proved that he had what it takes to compete at the highest level.
The future belongs to him, and the others must watch him prove it.
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His Stupendous Development
Throughout this season of the Indian Super League, Mahesh has consistently demonstrated his skills while representing East Bengal. Despite the team’s performance being lackluster, Mahesh’s individual talent has shone brightly, with him contributing nine goals in total.
Impressively, in addition to his two goals, he also provided seven assists, gaining the attention of national team coach Igor Stimac. Stimac believes in providing opportunities for young performers in the ISL to showcase their abilities and push for a place in the national team, which Mahesh has undoubtedly done.
Mahesh never had the privilege of being the cool kid picked first for the football team. Kerala Blasters took him in but loaned him out to Sudeva and East Bengal to get some game time. Despite being a winger, Mahesh found himself benched more often than not due to his lack of effectiveness in scoring.
However, his luck turned around this year with East Bengal after signing permanently. Unfortunately, his improved performance on the pitch wasn’t quite enough to instantly earn him a spot in the national squad. Seems like Mahesh still has to wait his turn and prove his worth.
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Fate intervened in this young Manipuri’s favor as he landed a spot on the team when Sivasakthi Narayanan’s injury opened the door for him. And let’s just say, Mahesh isn’t wasting any time seizing the opportunity! During the tri-nation tournament’s first-ever match against Myanmar, he only got to play for 20 minutes, but it was enough to leave a lasting impression.
“Mahesh was a big surprise,” Stimac told the AIFF after the match against Myanmar. “I saw what he’s capable of in the ISL, but when players come from the ISL to the national team, it’s a different type of pressure. He was brilliant tonight and everything he did was perfect by the book.”
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Naorem Mahesh’s Double Goals against Kyrgyz Republic kept him in Everyone’s Checklist
Mahesh’s immediate contribution was noteworthy as he replaced Brandon Fernandes, whose free-kick resulted in the opening goal, at the 56th minute mark.
Following a clever setup by Chhetri, Mahesh nearly doubled India’s lead with just his second or third touch. However, his attempt on goal with his weaker foot missed narrowly, striking the outside of the second post.
Despite this setback, Mahesh continued to make an impact in the match, including a skillful recovery from a slip at the edge of the box to deliver a pass into the box. These dynamic plays breathed new energy into India’s otherwise defensive approach and forced Kyrgyz to retreat into their own half, thereby creating space in the midfield.
As a result, Lallianzuala Chhangte became increasingly involved, delivering crosses and making daring forward runs that exemplify his status as one of India’s premier players.
Mahesh’s exertion set the scene for India’s second goal. Once again, his velocity proved to be overwhelming for the defender, resulting in a penalty for India. As 30,000 spectators cheered in the stadium, Chhetri confidently seized the opportunity and placed the ball deftly between the goalie and the post.
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