In a replay of last season's final, there was very little to separate Kerala Blasters and Atletico de Kolkata who played out a goalless draw at the in Kochi in the season opener today. Zequinha came closest to breaking the deadlock but his curling effort from distance could only find the woodwork.
New season, same story
The ISL as changed a lot in one year. Be it the change in the rule of the number of domestic players in the team or the inclusion of two new teams in the league, it’s a new world out there. But some things never change. Even though Kerala Blasters have managed to reach two ISL finals, losing both to ATK, they scored just 21 goals in 28 league games in those campaigns. They have always been a defensive unit and not even the signing of Dimitar Berbatov has changed their style of play.
For most of the first half, the Blasters’ passing accuracy lingered at 35% which meant that there was hardly any supply for their star man. It wasn’t too hard to see why they struggled to put up numbers in the goals scored column. The ruggedness that was the cornerstone of their successful campaign is still there much like the Stoke City team under Tony Pulis. But just as Stoke had to change their style of play to something that was easier on the eye, the Blasters have to strive to entertain the crowds more.
It’s early days but Atletico’s midfield looks spectacular
Right from the get-go, it was evident that the team from Bengal was going to dominate proceedings over the course of 90 minutes. The partnership of Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Conor Thomas, in the
The challenge that ATK faced was in their front four who, apart from Zequinha looked off the pace and struggled to create any real chances. While Njazi Kuqi, Rupert Nongrum, and Hitesh Sharma did a lot of running, there was hardly any end product through the middle. This resulted in the ball being switched from side to side where the blonde-haired duo of Keegan Pereira and Prabir Das attempted crosses that rarely troubled the Kerala
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One of the major reasons why they were able to make it all the way to the finals in 2014 and 2016 was the leadership of Cedric Hengbart at the heart of the
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