ISL 2017: Match 1, Kerala Blasters vs ATK, where to watch
Season 4 of the Indian Super League is all set to get underway, as defending champions ATK take on the Kerala Blasters at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi, today.
Both these sides have been among two of the best teams in the ISL, with the ATK winning the competition on two occasions, while the Blasters ended runners-up twice in the three-year history of the tournament. Interestingly, both these sides met each other in the finals in 2014 and 2016, with ATK, formerly Atletico de Kolkata winning on both occasions.
As both ATK and Kerala Blasters have made it to the finals twice, the two clubs have also built up a bit of rivalry between themselves over the three years.
Incidentally, ATK and Kerala Blasters have come into the new season with a predominant influence coming from one specific part of England – Manchester. The two managers, Teddy Sheringham of ATK and Rene Muelensteen have spent a fair part of their careers, as a player and as a coach respectively, at Manchester United.
Hence, both these managers have brought in a certain amount of English flavor to these two sides. Yet another striking similarity between the two cubs is that they have both signed former Premier League legends as their marquee players, in the form of Dimitar Berbatov (Kerala) and Robbie Keane (ATK)
Unfortunately for ATK, their marquee striker Keane suffered an Achilles injury during the pre-season training and could end up missing out on the action for around five weeks. The defending champions have received a double injury blow, as Jayesh Rane has also been ruled out for a few weeks. With the key players injured, the onus will fall on the likes of striker Robin Singh and midfielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh, to shoulder the responsibility for the side.
Kerala Blasters, on the other hand, have built up a strong side, with the likes of Iain Hume and CK Vineeth acting as able deputies in attack for Berbatov. They also have one of the most formidable defences in the league with former Manchester United centreback Wes Brown and India national team defender Sandesh Jhingan manning the backline.
Match time: 8 pm
TV Broadcast: Star Sports
Online Streaming: Hotstar