All the highlights from the Indian Super League opening fixture between Kerala Blasters and ATK Mohun Bagan, being played at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium in Kochi, Kerala.
Kerala Blasters started on the front foot and scored a well-deserved opener. But ATKMB weathered the storm and took a 2-1 lead into the break. They added on the lead before a mistake from Vishal Kaith almost gave Blasters a chance to sneak back in. But two quick goals from counterattacks quelled the danger as Juan Ferrando and his men sealed a memorable 5-2 win in Kochi.
Six minutes added on. ATKMB breaks through once more. Liston is through on goal and he unselfishly sets it up for Dimitrios Petratos to complete his hattrick. 5-2 is the score and this is a statement win for the Kolkata side.
Kerala Blasters unleashing wave after wave of attacks. But it leaves too much space out in the back and Dimitrios and Lenny Rodrigues capitalises on it. Lenny puts it past Gill and that should be it . 4-2 for ATKMB.
Kauko fouls Luna and Blasters gets a flurry of chances. At a point, there were three Blasters attackers with a chance to head it in from a cross. But Blasters can’t find the equaliser, yet.
Rahul KP flies past one defender and goes for a speculative shot from far. But it somehow squirms through the legs and hands of Kaith. HOWLERR!!!! Is that the opening for Blasters?
Less than 15 minutes for Ivan Vukumanovic and his men to gain something from this game. Rahul wins a corner down the right. Nishu Kumar goes for a spectacular volley from the rebound, but it is inches wide of the post. CLOSE!!!
Nishu Kumar has been heavily involved since his introduction. He swings a cross in, but it is too long for Diamantikos. Newly-introduced Florentin Pogba is the next to have a go at Luna and the Blasters man wins a freekick.
A key to ATKMB’s success tonight has been its ability to keep Luna largely out of the game. The Uruguayan has been closely marked and has been unusually quiet.
ATKMB has consolidated its position with that third goal. Vukumanovic brings in Rahul KP and Nishu Kumar to change the dynamics of this game.
ATKMB again punishes Blasters for a defensive error. Liston puts it on a plate for Petratos and he taps it in to make it 3-1.
ATKMB has steadied itself after a rocky start. It is holding Blasters at an arm’s length, with the home side unable to create anything substantial after the restart. Finally, something gave. Jessel’s cross from the left is almost headed in by Hamill for an own goal. Kaith then pushes away the rebound header. CHAOS!!
Liston shoots from range, but Hormipam deflects it away. Blasters hasn’t constructed any solid move so far in the second half. Liston goes past Hormipam and tries to chip Gill. But the goalkeeper is quick to react and claws it away.
Diamantikos wins a freekick for Blasters. Luna with the setpiece. Kaliuzhnyi shoots from the rebound, but it is straight to Kaith. ATK looking comfortable on possession and without it.
Kerala Blasters begins the second half. Though the home side had dominated the game in terms of attack, ATKMB has been ruthless in pouncing on mistakes from Blasters. The home crowd is as loud as ever and is egging its side to bounce back.
Second half begins.
Kaliuzhnyi and Luna link up down the left and wins a corner. It is Puitea who swings it in. Pritam Kotal is down after a head injury. He is back up and the game continues. The Tuskers tries to penetrate the ATKMB box through both wings, but the visitor holds strong and gets into the half with a 2-1 lead.
Luna and Ashique clash and their teammates are soon to join in as the tension boils over. Things calm down and the game is back on. Luna attempts a long ranger, but it is too tame an effort as Kaith gobbles it up.
This has been a thrilling game of football and this could swing either way. Manvir Singh gets the ball down the right and he threads it through for Kauko who rifles a shot with his right foot. It crashes into the net past Gill. GOAALLL!! ATKMB on the lead.
Sahal and Ivan Kaliuzhnyi have been linking up with spontaneity down the middle for Blasters. Liston gets a yard of space down the left, but he shoots straight at Gill.
Jessel gets space down the left to drill in a cross. It almost ends up as a corner for Blasters. Another corner follows and Jeakeson thumps the upright with a powerful header. UFF!! SO CLOSE.
GOALLLLLL!!!!! Boumous gets the ball along the left flank and carries the ball into the box. He looks up and crosses to Petratos, who taps it into the net.
Chance! Asish Rai sends in a long ball for Kauko, who heads it on target, but Gill is unmoved and catches the ball comfortably.
Asish Rai conceding a corner kick, but he comes to the rescue of his team in, heading the ball out of danger once the kick is taken.
Offside! Boumous tries a through ball as ATK Mohun Bagan goes on attack and Petratos taps it in. Bu the linesman had his flag raised.
GOAL!!!!!!!! Sahal Abdul Samad delivers a cross from the right and Ivan Kaliuzhnyi taps it in to give KBFC an early lead.
Kerala Blasters has pinned its opponent back with some slick passing and incessant pressing. The crowd is roaring in excitement. The only thing missing is the finishing touch.
ATK Mohun Bagan kicks off the game. Kerala Blasters in its yellow home kits and the visitors in white. Sahala with an early chance. He is released by an Ivan through ball. He tries to dribble past the goalkeeper. But, Vishal Kaith was composed and steals it from his feet. Early moments of the game and it is Blasters on the front foot.
A.R. Rahman’s voice echoes across the stadium as the National Anthem is played. The players complete the customary handshakes before the Kick-Off. We are moments away from the start of play.
The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium is jumping as the players make their way onto the pitch. This is the first time the teams are facing off at Kerala Blasters’ home ground.
This will be just the fifth meeting between these two teams. In the previous four encounters, a total of 16 goals have been scored. The Mariners have scored 10 goals and won three games while the Tuskers have scored 6 and won none.
“This is football. When you win or lose the matches, the important question for the staff is why we won or lost. In our point of view, we lost because we did not have many clear details about the opponents.
Apart from the technical and tactical aspects of the game, we also have to account for player emotions. However, I have faith in this team and the team has faith in me.”
“Most foreign players, after coming to India, think that getting into the team and playing ISL will be easy. With Kalyuzhnyi, we want to take it step-by-step, adapting him to the new environment, new system, new team and players, and this is a gradual process.”
“In the first game, we decided he’ll start from the bench. He’s young and has great qualities that can help turn up the tempo of the game and to change its rhythm.”
Although, it is still early in the season, ATK Mohun Bagan’s loss has caused the team to drop to 9th place in the points table. Kerala Blasters is fifth, having won its first game. A win tonight will send the team to the top of the table.
Kerala Blasters eased past East Bengal FC on the opening day of the new season while The Mariners fell prey to a late goal against Chennayin FC and are looking to get points on the board this season.
After a perfect start to the season playing in front of a stadium packed and roaring with fans in Kochi, Kerala Blasters will be looking to build on the momentum and secure their first-ever victory over ATK Mohun Bagan in the Hero ISL. The Mariners are the only team against whom the Tuskers have failed to notch a win in four attempts.
Kerala Blasters: Gill, Khabra, Leskovic, Hormipam, Jessel, Puitea, Jeakson, Ivan, Luna, Sahal, Dimitrios
ATK Mohun Bagan: Vishal, Hamill, Kauko, Dimitrios, Boumous, Manvir, Liston, Ashique, Pritam, Tangri, Asish
Kerala Blasters: Gill – Khabra, Hormipam, Leskovic, Carneiro – Samad, Puitea, Jeakson, Luna – Giannou, Kaliuzhhnyi
ATK Mohun Bagan: Kaith – Asish, Kotal, Hamill, Bose – Kauko, Tangri – Colaco, Kauko, Ashique – Petratos
Kerala Blasters FC gears up for its second Bengal challenge in a row as it hosts ATK Mohun Bagan in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi.
The Blasters will be glad to see Adrian Luna picking up from where he left off. The Uruguayan scored an astonishing volley to score the first Hero ISL goal of the season. The Tuskers’ attack-minded mentality was evident as none of their players had more touches on the ball than Luna (71).
Substitutes also played a key role in the Blaster’s victory. Two minutes after their introduction into the game, Bidyashagar Khangembam and Ivan Kalyuzhnyi combined to score the Tusker’s second goal of the evening. Eight minutes later, with his second shot, Kalyuzhnyi scored again.
It will be interesting to see whether that performance earns the Ukrainian midfielder his first start or whether head coach Ivan Vukomanovic will stick to the same starting eleven, knowing he has an ace up his sleeve.
Recovering from the opening-day fumble, ATK Mohun Bagan will be looking to nab their 25th win of the Hero ISL. The Mariners have a stellar head-to-head record against the Kerala Blasters but this will be the first time they face the yellow brigade in their own backyard.
Striker Manvir Singh, who has been involved in all of ATK Mohun Bagan’s Hero ISL games since their inception, scored the opening goal last time around. The 26-year-old is their leading Indian goal-scorer and seems fully capable of scoring in two successive games.
Liston Colaco was the name missing from the starting eleven in their last game. The attacker came on as a substitute in the second half, but the Mariners were starting to lose their grip on the game, and eventually ended up allowing CFC to score a late winner.