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ISL 2016 Final: Experts Pick the winners

Sportskeeda is truly torn between Kerala and Kolkata.

Feature 18 Dec 2016, 14:11 IST
Postiga and Hughes pose with the ISL trophy (Picture Courtesy ISL)
Postiga and Hughes pose with the ISL trophy (Picture Courtesy ISL)

The Indian Super League final is due tonight, and the two powerhouses of ‘traditional Indians football’ has reached the finals, namely Atletico de Kolkata and Kerala Blasters. As always, finals are the most difficult of games to predict, and Sportskeeda likewise seems to be torn between the two sides. So here we are risking our necks and awaiting you telling us how wrong we got it. 

Amartojit Basu (Twitter: @amartojitbasu)

There is only one way this match ends, with Bengal victorious! Although it's been a pleasure to watch this Kerala team respond to a very passionate and proud fanbase, Kolkata have too many weapons for Kerala to deal with all at once. Did I mention Iain Hume is nuclear? One nil to Kolkata with Iain Hume scoring the winner in the 87th minute. 

Winner: Atletico de Kolkata

Soumalya Moitra (Twitter: @soumlyamoitra7)

If you are reading this after the Form Guide, you have wasted two seconds of your life you will never get back. Matches like these, never ever depend on form, but given that, I expect a cagey first half. But, then the floodgates will (should) open, inevitably.

With the Kerala fans roaring their team on, it is difficult to look past the Blasters. But, Atletico de Kolkata seem to have the perfect recipe for the role of pantomime villain. Despite the majority, I will go with the Devil's advocate and pronounce Atletico de Kolkata as the winners by a single Iain Hume goal.

Winner: Atletico de Kolkata

Sunaadh Sagar (Twitter: @sunaadh)

It's a credit to the competitive nature of the Indian Super League that two sides who did not have the best of starts end up contesting the grand prize. Atletico de Kolkata and Kerala Blasters may not have been the prettiest of teams during the whole season, but the pair epitomize the gritty nature of Indian football.

When these two sides take to the pitch at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Kochi on Sunday, the crowd will be cheering for a single team, and that ought to prove the difference. The Blasters have created a veritable fortress at home, having won each of their last six games there, and I see it being no different this time around, despite ATK knowing exactly how to perform in big games.

CK Vineeth has single-handedly propelled the Blasters to the final and he could be the hero yet again. The roar of the Manjappada when Aaron Hughes lifts the trophy will be heard across India, and Kerala will finally have the success its ardent football fans crave, and now, deserve.

Winner: Kerala Blasters

Anirudh Menon (Twitter: @animenon19)

The ISL has been a fascinating spectacle in it's third edition. The two teams in the final have epitomised the see-saw nature of the season by oscillating between the good, the bad and the ugly throughout their campaign. 

They are, though, deserving finalists - and while it's nigh impossible to tell which side is better, I'd have to go with Kerala Blasters for the crown. On the pitch, I believe that Kerala have the more lethal firepower upfront, while Hughes, Hengbart and Jhingan have created a veritable fortress at the back which might be too hard for the likes of Hume, Postiga and Belencoso to penetrate. 

Off the pitch, it is a no contest, and that may just give the home side that extra bit of boost that decides matters at the highest level. The football-starved mass that swarms the Kaloor stadium will be baying them on, and if that can't carry them over the edge, nothing can.

Winner: Kerala Blasters

Sripad Kilikar (Twitter: @falsewinger)

I expect Kerala Blasters to be running out winners this time, and hopefully, it will be revenge for the first season's final. Atletico de Kolkata are the only ones to defeat Kerala Blasters at home this season but I don't see that happening again. 

Coppell's men have been working well together and as long Michael Chopra doesn't start, it should be an easy win for the men in yellow.

Winner: Kerala Blasters

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