ISL 2021-22: ATK Mohun Bagan faces Kerala Blasters challenge in season opener

ATK Mohun Bagan will begin its hunt for the Indian Super League title when it takes on Kerala Blasters at the Fatorda Stadium on Friday.

ATK Mohun Bagan

ATK Mohun Bagan had defeated Kerala Blasters 1-0 when the two sides clashed in the opening match of the ISL 2021-22 season.   -  Sportzpics

An absorbing contest is on the cards as last year’s runner-up ATK Mohun Bagan meets former finalist Kerala Blasters FC in the opening match of the Indian Super League’s (ISL 2021-22) eighth season, which gets underway at the Fatorda Stadium on Friday evening.

The Kolkata outfit, which is born out of the merger of ISL’s most successful outfit ATK FC and the legacy of Asia’s oldest club Mohun Bagan, has remained in the preservation mode retaining much of the previous season’s squad under the very same coach Antonio Lopez Habas.

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Kerala Blasters, which finished runner-up twice in 2014 and 2016, is looking to turn a new page under the Serbian head coach Ivan Vukomanovic.

Noting that he does not have much idea about the formation or form of the opponent under Vukomanovic, Habas said he prefers his boys to focus on the on the team’s football morals. “All the time my morals in football are more important. This means that my team will perform its own plan for 80 to 85 percent while the rest 15 to 20 percent is respect for the opponent,” he said on the eve of the opener.

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Vukomanovic sought to look ahead to a new match while putting the past behind. “In football the good thing is that you can have a new game every three days. In our case there is a new chapter, there is a new game. So all the history is behind us,” he said. Blasters lost both the matches against ATK MB last season including the season opener, where it went down by a solitary goal.

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