ISL 2017-18 season to begin on Nov. 17, will feature 95 games

The fourth edition of the ISL will feature 10 teams and host 95 games over four months, in what will be its longest season so far.

Two time champion Atletico de Kolkata will take on runner up Kerala Blasters in the opening game on November 17.   -  SPORTZPICS

The fourth edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) will begin with a clash between defending champion Atletico de Kolkata and runner-up Kerala Blasters FC at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on November 17.

The match-up between two-time champions ATK and Kerala Blasters will also bring the seasoned rivalry between Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov from Europe to Indian soil.

This year's edition will feature 10 teams, with the addition of Bengaluru FC and Jamshedpur FC. The increased number of teams will see the league feature 95 games and go on for four months, which will be its longest season so far.

All 10 teams play each other in a home-and-away format in 90 games before the two-legged semifinals which are scheduled to take place in the second week of March. The date and venue for the final of the 2017-18 season is yet to be announced.

The season’s first double-header will see a repeat of the 2016 final between Chennaiyin FC and FC Goa in Chennai. This will be followed by AFC Cup 2016 finalist, Bengaluru FC, getting its first taste of Hero ISL when it takes on last season’s semifinalist Mumbai City FC in a home match at Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Sunday, 19 November.

The highlight of the day will undoubtedly be India captain, Sunil Chhetri taking on his previous club for the first time.

The season’s first Maharashtra derby between FC Pune City and Mumbai City FC will be played on November 29, 2017 at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium, Pune.

Jamshedpur FC will play its first home match at the renovated JRD Tata Sports Complex Stadium against title holder ATK on December 1.

The 10 clubs have collectively spent Rs 132.75 crores in signing 77 international and 166 domestic players. Unlike previous seasons, the maximum number of foreign players in the playing XI has been reduced from six to five from this season onwards.

This has prompted clubs to invest heavily on home-grown talents with long-term goals in mind resulting in over 32 Indian players getting multi-year contracts starting this year.

View the entire schedule here.

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