Atletico de Kolkata will want to keep their hold over the Kerala Blasters intact when the two teams clash in the Indian Super League 2016 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi. With Atletico making a decent start to the ISL 2016 season and the Kerala Blasters a forgettable one, it will be ATK who go into this match as the favourites.
While Kochi is one of the most difficult places to come and get a result for away teams in the ISL, ATK have done well in the recent past, winning three matches in a row against the Kerala Blasters. With the atmosphere expected to be electric for the first home game of the Blasters' season, the Atletico de Kolkata players will need to be at their absolute best if they are to make it four wins from four.
"Last season is the past, this is a new season with new coaches and new players," Atletico de Kolkata's new manager Francisco Molina told reporters in Kochi. "Every match is different.
"ATK won last year, but to win again we will have to work really hard. We have to focus really hard and forget the past.
"As long as we work together and play as one unit it will not be difficult and we will need to do that in the next game as KBFC are a very good passing side."
That passing was not on view often enough against NorthEast United FC, as the Kerala Blasters crashed to a 1-0 defeat in their ISL 2016 opener. With Steve Coppell deciding to play three centre-backs, the Kerala Blasters need to find ways to use their wingbacks more in attacking positions, while bringing their forwards into play as well.
Easier said than done, of course, but, on paper at least, the Blasters have a solid team, capable of beating any side in the ISL. It is about finding the understanding and creating enough chances to trouble the opposition.
The Kerala Blasters defence also needs to play a lot better and that is where their marquee player Aaron Hughes comes in. Hughes is someone who has played at the highest level for a long time, and his leadership and organisational skills will be essential to beat Atletico de Kolkata, particularly one that has potent strikers like Helder Postiga and Iain Hume.
A former Kerala Blasters man, Hume will be keen to man an impression come Wednesday.
Where to Watch Live
Kerala Blasters vs Atletico de Kolkata is scheduled for a 7p.m IST start. Live Streaming and TV information is below.
India: TV: Star Sports 1/HD1, Asianet Movies, Jalsha Movies. Live Streaming: Hotstar.