CHENNAI [TAMIL NADU]: Chennaiyin FC striker Petar Sliskovic is a man in form. The Croatian forward has netted five goals in Chennaiyin FC's last six games, taking his tally to eight goals for the current Indian Super League (ISL) season.
The Marina Machans may have missed the presence of key players like Abdenasser El Khayati, Kwame Karikari, Anirudh Thapa and a few others throughout the season, but Sliskovic's contribution has been vital.
Thomas Brdaric's side is currently placed eighth in the ISL standings but has scored the third-most goals in the league (24) after Mumbai City FC and Hyderabad FC.
Sliskovic alone has had a hand in 11 of those goals, with three assists to add to his eight goals. Sliskovic's side will face ATK Mohun Bagan on Saturday.
Sliskovic has scored eight goals in his last nine matches and has failed to find the back of the net in just two of those games. That has helped him become Chennaiyin FC's top goalscorer this season.
ISL expert Paul Masefield and commentator Mark Tompkins feel the CFC No. 9 has massively benefited from the service he has been receiving. "Sliskovic is a fantastic striker. He plays with his back to the goal, bringing others into play.
But then you got to look at the quality that's coming from the wide areas. Aakash Sangwan has been playing well in the left-back role and delivering quality into the box.
On the right-hand side, they have Vincy Barretto as well, who has looked lively and is very quick. That quality is what Sliskovic thrives on," said Masefield in as quoted by an ISL press release.
"He manages to get himself in and around where the ball is going to be. To be fair, the youngsters have been doing that this season. They are putting the ball where it needs to be. And when you have got someone with the height and physique of Sliskovic, it's very difficult to mark him," Masefield added.
Tompkins also has a similar view. "I think the reason he is scoring so well at the moment is that he is getting good service from the players behind him, particularly Ajith Kumar and Aakash Sangwan. Sangwan was outstanding in the last game, getting forward and putting in crosses.
With a player of Sliskovic's heading ability, he will always pose a problem for defenders." "But with Vincy behind him as well, adding a little pace to the side, Sliskovic can feed off him. He reminds me of an old-fashioned centre-forward. A big number nine who is in the right place at the right time. His positioning is excellent." added Tompkins.
Sliskovic has been among the three Chennaiyin FC players besides Fallou Diagne and Julius Duker to feature in all of Chennaiyin FC's matches. A towering presence in front of goal, Sliskovic is just a goal shy of the league's current joint-top scorers in Cleiton Silva and Jorge Diaz, who have nine goals each.
The 31-year-old has also been a vital team player in creating chances. He has created 15 chances so far, and only full-back Aakash Sangwan has created more chances for Chennaiyin FC this season (17).
"Sliskovic without question is one of the in-form strikers at the moment. Five goals in six matches and eight goals in total. He has scored six goals with his head, which is the most we have seen in a single season of the ISL," says Tompkins.