We are past the halfway mark in the fourth edition of Indian Super League this season and as the race for the Golden Boot hots up, a three-way race to be the top Indian goalscorer has gathered pace.
Sunil Chhetri is top of the list with seven goals for Bengaluru FC in 11 matches. Chennaiyin FC's Jeje Lalpekhlua has scored six goals and Mumbai City's Balwant Singh is close behind with five goals to his name so far.
Jeje won the race in the first edition of ISL when he scored four goals from 13 games for Chennaiyin. Chhetri netted seven times from 11 games a year later and became the top scoring Indian striker in ISL in 2015 and interestingly, he has the same tally this season with seven more matches left.
Last year, Kerala Blasters' CK Vineeth won the race without any competition. The Keralite notched five goals from nine games to take his team to the final of the competition. This year, however, we can see that more goals are being scored and the competition to be the top scorer is the toughest since the inception of ISL.
Ever since the formation of Bengaluru FC, Sunil Chhetri has been the top scorer every season. For the first time, they have a different leading scorer in Venezuelan striker Miku who has nine goals already this season.
Jeje Lalpekhlua has spearheaded the Chennaiyin FC attack right from 2014 and he has already equalled his best ever tally of six goals in 2015 when Chennaiyin grabbed hold of the ISL trophy.
With a goal in every two games, Balwant Singh is having an impressive season with Mumbai City. The former Mohun Bagan striker has combined well with Everton Santos, Thiago Santos and Achille Emana to help his team succeed in picking up favourable results.
Under Guimaraes, the striker is part of a slow-paced yet effective defensive setup. That shows in his defensive contribution as well - Balwant has made 15 tackles, 8 interceptions, 7 clearances and 4 blocks for Mumbai City this season. These statistics are unusually high for a forward but that is one of the two factors that has made him Alexandre Guimaraes' favourite man to lead the line. The other factor? Scoring goals, obviously.
Having made a permanent move to Mumbai City to play in ISL, Balwant Singh will be looking to better the usual suspects on the scorers' list. But as of now, Sunil Chhetri is in the lead. Just like he has been for so many years for club and country.