Kerala Blasters and NorthEast United FC, two of the most well supported teams in the Indian Super League will want to get it going for their season when they clash at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Tuesday.
The Blasters have been the most under-the-radar teams in preseason, not making those flashy signings, deciding against signing a player from the ISL auctions and staying in India for the bulk of their training, while the other ISL teams made those big trips to Europe and the rest of the world.
Sachin Tendulkar believed in backing talent and trusting the resources available during his cricketing career, and with the new manager Peter Taylor thinking along the same lines, the Kerala Blasters have gone in for some astute signings, while their marquee name will be Carlos Marchena, who, unfortunately for the home crowd, will not take the field on Tuesday owing to an injury picked up in training.
The NorthEast United marquee player Simao Sabrosa will also miss out on this match, with injury, which is a big blow for the team co-owned by Bollywood star John Abraham.
"Simao will probably miss the first two games," NorthEast United manager Cesar Farias said. "We are taking precautionary measures but we are confident he will be back fitter and stronger.
"We have excellent players who can take his place and help the team deliver."
While Marchena will be a big miss for the Kerala Blasters, the bigger problem for the Tendulkar-owned side will probably be that of Sandesh Jhingan. The 22-year-old was the standout Indian defender in the ISL last season, and the Blasters will definitely miss his services on Tuesday, with Jhingan currently with the India team for their pre-World Cup qualifiers.
What the Blasters can bank upon come Tuesday, though, is the home support. The crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi was second to none last season, and Taylor and co. will, no doubt, expect the fans to act as their 12th man for their opening ISL 2015 match against NorthEast United FC.
ISL 2015 schedule: Tuesday, 6 October: Kerala Blasters vs NorthEast United FC.
Time: 7 pm IST (2.30 pm BST, 9.30 am ET).
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