Kerala Blasters drubs ATK 2-0 in season-opener

Goals from Matej Poplatnik and Slavisla Stojanovic steered Kerala Blasters to a 2-0 win against ATK in the season-opener.

Kerala Blasters' Stojanovic in action against ATk on Saturday.   -  PTI

There goes the final whistle. Goals from Poplatnik and Stojanovic steer Kerala Blasters to a 2-0 win against ATK in the season-opener. Interesting fact, this is Kerala's first win in Kolkata.

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STAT ATTACK: This is the first time Kerala has had a clean sheet in the previous nine encounters between the two sides.

The fourth official has signalled for four minutes of added time.

89' Change for Kerala: Goal-scorer Poplatnik comes off for Kizito Keziron.

86' OH MY, WHAT A SCREAMER! Stojanovic weaves past his defender and unleashes a stunning curling effort to put Kerala 2-0 up.

82' Less then ten minutes to go. Can Kerala hold on for the win?

79' Final change for ATK: Cavin Lobo comes in for Rane.

STAT ATTACK: ATK has never lost its opening fixture in ISL history!

77' WE HAVE THE OPENER! Stojanovic's shot takes a deflection and Poplatnik races in to score the header and put Kerala in the lead. Poplatnik has certainly made amends for missing four earlier chances.

74' First change for ATK: Kalu Uche comes on for Mimouni.

73' Arindam rushes off his line to prevent Poplatnik from having a go at goal. He fumbles his initial save but recovers well to cleat the ball from danger.

71' Change for Kerala: CK Vineeth comes in for Doungel.

70' Twenty minutes to go and we're yet to see the opening goal of the evening!

67' Pekuson fires a low drive from the edge of the box but fails to find the target.

62' Collision. Pesic makes a sliding tackle to stop Rane and both players are left on the ground. Doesn't look serious but both will get some medical attention. 

60' Fifteen minutes into the second half and it seems even-steven here. Both sides have had their share of chances but neither has managed to find the finishing touch upfront.

57' Mimouni lets one rip from distance but Dheeraj is up to the task. The youngster has looked sharp so far.

53' Jhingan clutches his ankle and goes off the pitch to get some treatment.

50' Excellent interception by Lanzarote. Five Kerala players surge towards goal and a through ball is played towards Doungel but Lanzarote makes a crucial stop to stall the attack.

48' Ralte misreads the ball and Doungel has the chance to open the scoring for Kerala but he scuffs the opportunity.

46' Change in personnel for Kerala. Courage Pekuson comes on for Samad.

And that's half time. Kerala undoubtedly had the better chances of the opening 45 but failed to capitalise on them. ATK has looked effective in patches but will have to combine better upfront if it is to breach the Kerala defence. Scoreline remains 0-0.

45' We will have one minute of added time.

42' ATK 'keeper Arindam has been kept busy all evening and the 29-year-old has managed to hold fort so far.

Good news coming in here for Indian football enthusiasts: The Indian U-16 men's AFC U-16 Championship quarterfinal clash against South Korea will be broadcast live on Start Sports 2/2HD on October 1, 6PM onwards.

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39' How did he miss that? The corner comes sailing into the box and all Rane has to do is to find the target but he messes it up. Has to be ATK's chance of the game so far.

36' Chance for ATK but Dheeraj makes a decent save to guard his goal. Scoreline remains unchanged.

32' Samad, who is making his debut today, unleashes a powerful drive from the edge of the box and forces Arindam to make a fine stop. Corner to Kerala.

28' Poplatnik has has the best of chances so far. The Slovenian has had three decent chances but has failed to convert any.

26' Everton Santos joins the party. Lanzarote plays an inch-perfect lob and Rane lays it for Santos, who unleashes a fiery strike that zooms above the post. This was ATK's first real attempt of the game so far.

23' Jhingan plays a stunning ball from deep in defence to Poplatnik, who is through on goal but is let down by his shoddy footwork.

21' There's the first yellow card of season five. ATK's El Mimouni goes into the ref's book for a rather rash tug on Poplatnik.

19' Should have done better. Halicharan floats in a peach of cross from the left to on onrushing Seimen Doungel, but the latter, despite having all the time in the world, fails to find the target.

15' Stunning save from Dheeraj Singh! Lanzarote fires a inswinging corner and the 18-year-old makes his first real save of the match.

12' Right place at the right time. Poplatnik sends a corner into the box and Pesic rises high to head goalwards, but Sena Ralte, who is manning the far post, thwarts the attempt.

10' Ten minutes into the tie and Kerala Blasters has done all the attacking so far. The strikers have caught the ATK defence on the back foot on quite a few occasions and have kept the keeper on his toes.

7' The ATK defence is looking a little shaky here. KBFC has kept the defence under constant threat.

5' Poplatnik has another chance! He's has a shot on goal but an ATK defender makes a timely interception to block the strike.

4' Oh that was close! A lovely cross from the left is delivered to Poplatnik, who's header drifts past the post.

2' ATK looking sharp at the start. Some start passing sees Jayesh Rane get past his man and make a run down the left but the move doesn't progress further.

The Indian national anthem has been played and we're all set for kick-off! An interesting evening of football in the reckoning.

Here's how the two sides will line up this evening:

 

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's live coverage of the opening clash of the Indian Super League 2018 between two-time champion ATK and two-time runner-up Kerala Blasters.

The opening affair in the fifth edition of the ISL contains the ingredients of an intense contest as old rivals ATK and Kerala Blasters FC square up at the Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday. The two sides share a fairly successful ISL history which has seen them meet in two finals, with the Blasters narrowly losing on both the occasions.

The results came up for discussion once again on the eve of their latest encounter forcing Blasters’ coach and former England World Cupper David James to look back at the inaugural year (2014) for the only occasion when his side beat ATK.

Of the 10 meetings between the two sides so far, ATK has won four while the Blasters outfit has managed just one. The remaining five meetings, including the last final that saw ATK winning on penalties, were drawn affairs. Both the matches between the two last in the 2017-18 season ended in stalemates.

FULL PREVIEW| Familiar foes ATK, Kerala Blasters meet in ISL opener