The Fifth edition of the Indian Super League is all set to start on September 29 (Saturday) at Yuba Bharati Krirangan better known as Salt Lake Stadium, in Kolkata. The home side ATK will take on Kerala Blasters FC in the season opener starting at 7.30pm.
Both the sides have already played two gripping Indian Super League finals and ATK won in both occasions (2014, 2016). In the short span of four years of ISL, the Kolkata and Kochi based franchisees locked horns 10 times and ATK won five occasions. Kerala Blasters won only once while rest of the four matches ended up in a draw. ATK has scored 13 goals against Kerala Blasters so far while the Yellow army netted 10 goals in return. Agonising stuff for KBFC is that they are yet to win against ATK in Kolkata. The past history is definitely in favour of ATK.
Where to watch on TV and online
Online stream- Hotstar and Jio TV
TV channel- Star Sports/HD
Hindi: Star Sports 3, Star Gold, Star Utsav
Vernacular languages- Asianet Movies (Malayalam), Jalsha Movies (Bengali), Asianet Suvarna Plus (Kannada)
ATK for ISL season 5
ATK for the new season is managed by Steve Coppell who is a familiar face in ISL having coached Jamshedpur FC and Kerala Blasters in the previous season. However, the team is seeking redemption after finishing 2nd from bottom in ISL 2017-18, their worst finish so far. Coppell has a foreign contingent with enough ISL experience. Six out of seven foreign players already played in ISL and some of them were standout performers last season.
Coppell is known for his style of football that gives a lot of focus on defence. The arrival of John Johnson, Gerson Vieira and Andre Bikey makes the ATK's defence strong. However, ATK's attack is expected to be lethal this time with Manuel Lanzarote feeding ball to Kalu Uche, Balwant Singh, and Everton Santos. The squad on papers is solid for ATK while it remains to be seen how Coppell's tactics work out in the pitch.
Kerala Blasters for ISL 5
Kerala Blasters is now managed by David James who was the player and manager for them in season 1. The former English goalkeeper legend set up a young KBFC squad for 2018-19. The defence for the KBFC seems to be sorted with national team duo Sandesh Jhingan and Anas Edathodika complemented with Lalruatthara, Cyril Kali and Nemanja Lakic-Pesic. Since Anas is out for the ATK game due to suspension Cyril Kali is expected to start.
Halicharan Narzary and Seminlen Doungel are expected to bolster attacking wing play of the Blasters. The attacking squad consisting Matej Poplatnik and Slavisla Stojanovic are new to ISL and yet to prove themselves. The local hero CK Vineeth is will play a curial role in the KBFC front line.
ATK vs Kerala Blasters – playing 11 prediction
ATK- Debjit Majumder (GK), Gerson Vieira, Aiborlang Khongjee, John Johnson, Sena Ralte (defenders), Manuel Lanzarote, Hitesh Sharma, Noussair El Maimouni, Pronay, Komal Thatal (midfielders), Kalu Uche, Balwant Singh (forwards).
Kerala Blasters- Dheeraj Singh (GK), Lalruatthara, Sandesh Jhingan, Cyril Kali, Pritam Kumar Singh (defenders), Halicharan Narzary, Courage Pekuson, Nikola Krcmarevic, Seiminlen Doungel (midfielders), Matej Poplatnik, Slavisa Stojanovic (forwards).