ISL 2019-20: Kerala Blasters 2-1 ATK- 5 Talking Points
Kerala Blasters head coach Eelco Schattorie fielded his team in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Bilal Khan made his ISL debut in between the sticks. Brazilian Jairo Rodrigues and Dutchman Gianni Zuiverloon formed the centre-back partnership, with Mohammad Rakip and Jessel Carneiro flanking the defense to complete the backline.
Jeakson Singh and Moustapha Gning played ahead of them as the trio of Sergio Cidoncha, Halicharan Narzary, and Prasanth K played feeder to their lone striker Bartholomew Ogbeche.
ATK's head coach Antonio Lopez Habas too fielded his team in a similar formation. Pritam Kotal, Agustin Garcia, Carl McHugh, and Prabir Das completed the back-four whereas Jayesh Rane and Pronay Halder played in the defensive midfield position.
Javi Hernandez, Michael Soosairaj, and David Williams played a line ahead of them, creating chances for their striker Roy Krishna.
Carl McHugh opened the scoring charts for ATK as his volley following an Augustin Garcia cut-back slotted right at the top corner. Kerala Blasters captain Bartholomew Ogbeche restored the parity after converting a penalty before doubling it at the dying embers of the first half.
The second half saw no goals scored as the scoreline remained unchanged.
#5 Jhingan a big miss for in the Kerala Blasters defensive unit
Kerala Blasters suffered a massive jolt in their pre-season as their defensive stalwart Sandesh Jhingan tore his ACL muscle in the build-up to India's match against Bangladesh. That compounded Eelco Schattorie's defensive issues that already had an injured Zuiverloon and Jairo.
The defenders allowed too much space for ATK forwards and the Kolkata side should have killed the game in the first half itself. The back-four gave a better account of themselves in the second half but there is scope for a lot of improvement.
With Jhingan out for the first half of the season, head coach Eelco Schattorie needs to align his defense accordingly as tougher test in the form of Mumbai City FC and Hyderabad FC awaits.