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5 reasons why Atletico de Kolkata deserved to win ISL 2016

ATK ISL 2016 Champions.JPG
Atletico de Kolkata: Worthy champions
Modified 20 Dec 2016, 15:02 IST
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Perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise that the most consistent team over the three years of the ISL are now celebrating a second title. Atletico de Kolkata beat Kerala Blasters 4-3 on penalties in the final of the 2016 season to walk away with the trophy, and their victory was a sight to behold.

The game was tied 1-1 after 90 minutes, and the two teams could not be separated even after 30 minutes of extra time on the big night in Kochi. But when push came to shove it was the Kolkata side that held their nerve better, bringing bitter disappointment to the scores of home fans who were screaming their lungs out in support of the Blasters. 

It is hard to argue against Kolkata being deserving winners - they have been the most consistent with their squad selection throughout the tournament, and have given immense importance to continuity.

Here are five big reasons why Atletico de Kolkata deserved to be champions of ISL 2016:

#1 Squad depth

ATK squad depth
ATK had strength in depth

The Kolkata squad was full of experienced professionals this season, and they had all their bases covered. They had at least two players capable of coming into the first team for every position, which ensured that the level of performance never dropped. 

There was no better example of that than the team that manager Jose Molina put out for the second leg of the semi-final against Mumbai City FC. The Kolkata manager made nine changes, dropping Iain Hume, Helder Postiga and Sameehg Doutie to the bench. 

But Kolkata got the result that they needed, with a 0-0 draw to follow up on their 3-2 win at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium. 

Kolkata have never really looked like a side out of place. For the final, they were missing Arnab Mondal, who has been a pillar in their defence for the last three years. But at no point did they look like they were ever going to leak goals.

Borja Fernandez, Iain Hume and Helder Postiga kept the squad together, and never let their heads drop even when the going was tough. That is reinforced by the fact that Kolkata never lost a game by more than one goal.

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Published 20 Dec 2016, 14:53 IST
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