ISL 2019-20: Kerala Blasters beats ATK - Talking points

Kerala Blasters got its ISL 2019-20 season off to a winning start as it secured a 2-1 win over ATK. Here are the major talking points from the game.

Bartholomew Ogbeche scores from the spot during Kerala Blasters' 2-1 win over ATK in the Indian Super League on Sunday.   -  ISL MEDIA

Eelco Schattorie's reign as Kerala Blasters coach got off to a winning start as the side rode on Bartholomew Ogbeche's brace to earn a 2-1 win over ATK at Kochi's Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Sunday.

MATCH REPORT| Dream start for Blasters as Ogbeche scores brace in win over ATK

ATK stormed into the lead in the sixth minute when Irishman Carl McHugh struck a thunderous volley from within the box. The home side got back on level terms as Ogbeche converted from the spot in the 30th minute and the home side went on to take the lead at the stroke of half-time. Ogbeche unleashed a ferocious drive to score in the 45th minute, which proved to be the match-winning goal.

Here are the major talking points from the ISL 2019-20 season opening clash between Kerala Blasters and ATK:

Ogbeche continues where he left off

The Nigerian World-Cupper had a fantastic season with NorthEast United last season, which was cut short at the fag end owing to injury. But Bartholomew Ogbeche announced his return in style as he struck a fine brace in Sunday's win over ATK.

Kerala Blasters' Bartholomew Ogbeche scored two goals against ATK in ISL 2019-20 season opener.   -  ISL


The Blasters captain was in the thick of things from the get go and remained a constant threat in the ATK box. His muscular frame and witty passing saw him create a couple of chances and seize the two easy ones that came his way.

Roy Krishna impresses

If there was a positive that ATK was to take from the game, it had to be Krishna's terrific display. The Fijian, making his ISL debut, caught eyeballs aplenty with his pacy runs and ability to weave past the defence with ease. One such instance came in the 21st minute when he raced past his marker with ease to storm into the box. But his last touch let him down as he failed to get off a proper shot.

ATK's Roy Krishna put up an impressive shift against Kerala Blasters.   -  ISL MEDIA


He had another chance to bag the equaliser in the 70th minute, but he was undone by his first touch and the defence swooped in to clear the danger.

Having put up a spirited display on debut, Krishna has all the makings to finish among the top goalscorers this ISL 2019-20 season.

Refereeing a matter of concern

The refereeing was a topic of debate during the game. Blasters' first goal came off a contentious penalty as Jairo Rodrigues claimed that he was pulled back by Pronay Halder in a goalmouth melee. Though replays showed the slightest of contact, the referee pointed to the spot.

HIGHLIGHTS| As it happened: Ogbeche brace powers Blasters to win over ATK

This came minutes after Krishna's goal in the 24th minute was wrongly adjudged offside, and ATK was denied a clear penalty in the 26th minute. Michael Soosairaj was wrestled to the ground by Sergio Cidoncha in the box, but the referee, R Srikrishna, dismissed the ATK players' protests.

Srikrishna added to ATK's woes later in the game as he denied the side another penalty. Sehnaj Singh's long-range attempt struck Moustapha Gning's outstretched arm in the box, but the referee simply turned down the appeals.

Arques injury adds to Blasters' woes

Blasters was dealt with a massive blow ahead of the season as Sandesh Jhingan was ruled out for at least four months owing to an ACL injury. And the home side's injury woes seemed to worsen on Sunday as Mario Arques had to be stretchered off, just minutes after coming on as a late substitute, owing to a hamstring injury. 

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