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ISL Final: Kerala Blasters vs Atletico de Kolkata - What we can expect - Preview and Prediction

Gupta Vishal
ANALYST
Modified 20 Dec 2014, 00:28 IST
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Either Kerala Blasters or Atletico de Kolkata will win the first ever ISL title

Kerala Blasters edged Chennaiyin FC in their semi-final encounter 4-3 on aggregate, while Atletico de Kolkata scraped past Zico’s FC Goa on penalties. While Kerala Blasters were not favorites for some to enter the Indian Super League final, Atletico de Kolkata were always dubbed as favorites to win the inaugural title.

Venue and Kick-off

The D.Y Patil Stadium, situated in Mumbai, will play hosts to the first ever final of the Indian Super League. The 55,000 capacity stadium is expected to be ‘fiiled to the brim’. The D.Y Patil played hosts to the ICC World Cup in 2011. The atmosphere in the stadium , is expected to be electric as fans of both finalists wil cheer their teams, with chants and greet them with applause. 

Kick-off Time: 7 PM IST

Probable Line-Ups

Kerala Blasters (4-1-3-2): Sandip Nandy, Nirmal Chhetri, Colin Falvey, Cedric Hengbart, Sandesh Jhinghan, Mehtab Hossain, Ishfaq Ahmed, Forcada, Stephen Pearson, Iain Hume, Michael Chopra
 

After a heart clinching encounter against Chennaiyin FC, Kerala Blasters at last, qualified for the first ever finals of the Hero Indian Super League. The Blasters however, will miss two of their key figures in defense, in the form of Jamie McAllister and Gurwinder Singh. 

With McAllister and Gurwinder suspended from the final, David James is expected to deploy Nirmal Chhetri in the right back role, which allows Sandesh Jhinghan to transit to the left back region. The heart of Kerala’s defense is expected to be made up by the defensive pairing of Colin Falvey and Cedric Hengbart.

Mehtab Hossain is expected to be deployed in his favored role of a holding midfielder and act as a link between midfield and attack, while launching long balls for Iain Hume to thrive upon. 

Iain Hume and Micheal Chopra are expected to lead Kerala’s line of attack. The duo displayed signs of chemistry between them, when Chennaiyin FC entertained Kerala Blasters. Iain Hume is always, is expected to press from the front and enable Kerala to play a high pressing game.  

 
Atletico de Kolkata (4-2-3-1): Subhashish Roy Chowdhary, Kingshuk Debnath, Arnab Mondal, Josemi, Lester, Oftense Nato, Borja, Luis Garcia, Pody, Jofre, Mohammad Rafi

 

With the sensational Fikru released, Atletico de Kolkata might have an uphill task on their hands. Luis Garcia, alongwith the attacking duo of Pody and Jofre, has failed to strike a chord with striker, Mohammad Rafi, who is expected to lead Atletico’s attack against Kerala.

With attack in jeopardy, Atletico de Kolkata are expected to commit men behind the ball and often rely on counter attacks, through the vision of Garcia and the speed of Pody. 

The safest bet of Atletico de Kolkata’s structure is probably it’s defense. The Center Back pairing of Josemi and Arnab Mondal has often been compact and solid in the heart of defense. The wingbacks in the form of Kingshuk and Lester are expected to bombard forward, if and when possible.

Borja and Oftense Nato are expected to provide covering to Atletico’s defense and would look to dominate proceedings. While Borja could act as a link to connect midfield to attack, Nato is expected to sit back and feed the Spainiard long balls. 

Kerala Blasters Probable XI v Atletico de Kolkata Probable XI
 

Key Battles

Mehtab Hossain V Luis Garcia 
 
Mehtab Hossain, who is expected to be deployed as a defensive midfielder, whose main aim is to provide covering to the back four, will square things off against former Liverpool midfielder, Luis Garcia. Although this clash, is expected to be a tactical one, with Garcia often plucking Hossain out of his domian, a physical enounter with tackles could be expected. 
 
Iain Hume V Josemi 
 
Exciting games often acommodate exciting clashes between forwards and defenders. Kerala Blaster’s attacking general Iain Hume versus Atletico de Kolkata’s defensive enforcer Josemi, is one such clash. Both players have been in impressive form throughtout the campaign, and have been stalwarts for their respective teams. A physcial encounter, between these two players is set to follow, when Kerala Blasters take to the pitch against Atletico de Kolkata. 
 

Prediction 

Kerala Blasters are expected to edge this encounter against Atletico de Kolkata and become the first champions of the Indian Super League. Kerala Blasters are expected to take the lead in the first thrity minutes of this clash. Although, the game could feature end to end stuff in it’s dying embers, Kerala Blasters are expected to dominate and dictate proceedings. 

Kerala Blasters 2 – Atletico de Kolkata 1

Published 20 Dec 2014, 00:12 IST
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