ISL 2019/20: Kerala Blasters vs ATK | Match preview, predicted lineups and live streaming details
The sixth edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) is set to begin with a thrilling encounter on Sunday evening as Kerala Blasters host ATK at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi. Both teams are coming off disappointing seasons and would be looking to settle in from the very first game.
Kerala Blasters have a completely revamped squad for the 2019/20 season. After Viren D'Silva replaced Varun Tripuneni as the club CEO the management has appointed Eelco Schattorie as the new head coach. He will be assisted by Ishfaq Ahmed has rejoined the club as a deputy to Sachattorie. Blasters parted ways with all of their foreign signings from the previous season and have acquired the services of familiar names like Bartholomew Ogbeche and Sergio Cidoncha. The Indian recruits like Samuel Lalmuanpuia and Rahul KP are also ones to watch out for.
Blasters had their pre-season scheduled at UAE but had to return home after the first game. The team won against South United and Kerala Santosh Trophy team during the preparatory camp. However, they were held to a draw by Indian Arrows and were defeated by I-League side Real Kashmir.
ATK are returning with hopes of asserting their dominance in the competition once again. As a result, they have relied on Antonio Lopez Habas for a second stint. Habas has been offered a great team with the most prominent figures in the league. Roy Krishna and David Williams were signed from the A-League in Australia. Jobby Justin, Michael Soosairaj and Dheeraj Singh were costly domestic purchases by the Kolkata club.
In the pre-season, ATK found dominant victories over Southern Samity and Peerless S.C. However, they were thrashed 5-3 by Kolkata giants Mohammedan S.C.
Kerala Blasters vs ATK: Match information
Date: 20 October 2019
Kickoff: 7:30 PM IST
Live Stream: Star Sports Network and Hotstar
Venue: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi
Live Commentary: Kerala Blasters vs ATK
Kerala Blasters vs ATK: Team News
Sandesh Jhingan has been ruled out of the season with an ACL tear during India's friendly game against NorthEast United. Gianni Zuiverloon and Jairo Rodrigues were also under injury concerns and missed a few of the pre-season games.
TP Rehenesh is expected to be between the sticks for Blasters. If Zuiverloon and Rodrigues are match fit, Abdul Hakku and Lalruatthara will offer support on the flanks. Mario Arques will be the defensive shield in midfield. The midfield will have Sahal Abdul Samad, Sergio Cidoncha and Halicharan Narzary as attacking prospects. Schattorie, expected to play two strikers, will have Bartholomew Ogbeche and Mohammed Rafi in the lineup.
ATK will be affected by two suspensions. Anas Edathodika will miss the fixture due to the red card he received while playing for Kerala Blasters in the Super Cup. Jobby Justin still has three matches left to complete the six-game ban he was awarded in the I-League last season.
Dheeraj Singh is likely to start in ATK's opener. The defence line will have Pritam Kotal and Prabir Das operating as the full-backs. John Johnson and Agus Garcia will form a formidable partnership as stopper-backs. Sehnaj Singh and Pronay Halder might be the holding midfielders in Habas' setup. The attacking trio will be formed by Edu Garcia in the center and Michael Soosairaj and David Williams on the wings. Roy Krishna will be the sole striker in the ATK lineup.
Kerala Blasters vs ATK: Probable Lineups
Kerala Blasters (4-1-3-2): TP Rehenesh, Abdul Hakku, Gianni Zuiverloon, Jairo Rodrigues, Lalruatthara, Mario Arques, Sahal Abdul Samad, Sergio Cidoncha, Halicharan Narzary, Mohammed Rafi, Bartholomew Ogbeche
ATK (4-2-3-1): Dheeraj Singh, Pritam Kotal, John Johnson, Agus Garcia, Prabir Das, Pronay Halder, Sehnaj Singh, David Williams, Edu Garcia, Michael Soosairaj, Roy Krishna
Kerala Blasters vs ATK: Form Guide
Kerala Blasters: D-W-L-W-D
Kerala Blasters vs ATK: Head-to-Head
Kerala Blasters: 2
Kerala Blasters vs ATK: Key Players
Kerala Blasters will be relying on Bartholomew Ogbeche for an improved performance this season. The striker was signed from NorthEast United after leading the club's scoring charts with 12 goals. Ogbeche will be a crucial presence for Blasters, facing the likes of John Johnson and Agus Garcia. The Nigerian player has been appointed as the team's captain and would be leading his side from the front.
Roy Krishna was one of the most-celebrated signings of this ISL. The Fiji international was part of Wellington Phoenix in the A-League before coming to Kolkata. Krishna was A-League's top goal-scorer with 18 goals in the 2018/19 season. Roy Krishna will be the goal-scoring machine in Antonio Lopez Habas' setup this season.
Kerala Blasters vs ATK: Predictions
Kerala Blasters have regained the support of their fan group Manjappada with the new signings. Hosting ATK, the side will never lack the advantage of playing at home. Only if the Kolkata side can overcome that pressure, they will be able to come out of the outing with a crucial away win. Blasters have prepared well and will be a tough challenge to the visitors. A draw is the most probable outcome of the opening fixture.
Predicted Score - Kerala Blasters 1:1 ATK