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ATK players go through their training drills ahead of the big matchPR Handout

The D-Day is here. Two-time Indian Super League (ISL) champions ATK get ready to clash swords with Kerala Blasters in the opening match of ISL 2017-18 at the JLN Stadium in Kochi on Friday November 17.

This is a repeat of last year's final.


Two former Manchester United stars get pitted against each other in the match as well. Rene Meulensteen, a former assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson, is the Kerala Blasters coach for this season, while former Premier League star striker, Teddy Sheringham, remains the ATK coach for the season.

Sheringham played under Sir Alex at Manchester United from 1997 to 2001.

The coaches with the best football acumen take to the centre-stage at Kochi for this high-intensity match. Among the players, Kerala Blasters' Dimitar Berbatov and Wes Brown remain the notable names, apart for Indian duo CK Vineeth and Sandesh Jhingan, the Blasters' captain for this season.

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Kerala Blasters during their training sessionPR Handout

ATK will miss the services of star striker Robbie Keane as he is out with injury. That said, the Indian players in Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Robin Singh can pose quite a threat for the home side.

Sheringham knows that his team isn't the favourite in this match, but they would do everything to get the first three points of the season. "It's what every boy dreams of, every player, every manager dreams of - to play in front of 60,000 fans [at JLN Stadium Kochi]," mentioned the ATK coach.

"They [the home fans] won't be supporting us tomorrow but we will know we are doing great if we can keep these amazing fans quiet."

Meulensteen's take? "I always tell my players to focus on the game. Not on the occasion - the occasion is for the fans. The match is for the players," the former Manchester United assistant coach said.


  • Date: November 17
  • Time: 8 pm IST
  • Venue: JLN Stadium Kochi

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