After a long gap of 40 days due to the Asian Cup break, Indian Super League has finally returned with the match between Kerala Blasters and ATK.
Both the teams have witnessed so many things in recent times. Kerala saw coach David James was shown the door and the ‘professor’ Nelo Vingada taking the charge. ATK have been the busiest side in the transfer window in order to make it to the top four.
In the end, all we had was a disappointment as both teams shared spoils. The match ended 1-1 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi, which saw a poor turnout for the third successive match.
After a see-saw battle, ATK broke the deadlock in the 85th minute through a brilliantly taken free-kick from Edu Garcia, their new signing. Kerala equalised a couple of minutes later, thanks to an own goal by Gerson Viera.
Both teams remained on the same position in the league table. ATK are sixth with 17 points from 13 matches, whereas Kerala have accumulated 10 points from as many matches.
Let us look at the talking points of the game:
#5 Kerala look more compact side
Kerala Blasters were a depleted side under David James. There was no understanding between the players on the field and that is why they looked clueless most of the times.
One of main challenge that new coach Nelo Vingada faced was to reunite the side that is lacking confidence. Going by the first match, he has done that but there is more room for improvement.
Kerala won their away match against ATK and thereafter, their performance went downhill. However, they looked more confident at their home, giving assurance to the fans that all is not lost.
Kerala’s approach has been, change. They have plagued by some wrong team selection this time. Especially their foreigners never found the rhythm that was expected from them. They didn’t buy a player in the January transfer window either, probably keeping in mind their league table standings.
However, the old guards looked fresh against ATK. Matej Poplatnik and Slavisa Stojanovic, who invited most of the criticism, performed much better, probably their best this season, against ATK.
A win eluded them, but with this kind of display, Kerala can finish in a much respectable position.