The ISL kicks off with a mouth-watering clash as Atletico de Kolkata take on Kerala Blasters - a repeat of last season's final. The game also provides an interesting match up as Kerala Blasters' new signing Dimitar Berbatov goes up against former Tottenham teammate and ATK striker Robbie Keane.
Rene Meulensteen expects his Kerala Blasters team to play incisive one-touch attacking football to break through the wall of ATK's
The Dutchman, famed for his technical coaching, hinted that he will apply the same methods in Kerala that he has always believed in: delete needless touches and play a fast brand of football to create spaces and score.
"I have always told players that they should figure out who their
The Yellow Army has won just once in eight meetings against the two-time champions, a 2-1 victory that came three years ago. Meulensteen will, however, have one of the players who
This is not the case for ATK though, who will be without their star signing Robbie Keane. That will not play on the mind of Teddy Sheringham. The former Manchester United striker has enough goal threats to choose from, with India's Robin Singh being one of them. In midfield, he has Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Jayesh Rane, both supremely talented in picking out a pass.
"We have worked hard on our defensive game, but we also want to go forward. We are going to play to win tomorrow," Sheringham said, keeping his cards close to his chest in terms of defining what sort of approach ATK will take.
Sheringham did explain how he has prepared his team for the test of playing in Kerala: "It's what every boy dreams of, every player, every manager dreams of - to play in front of 60,000 fans. They won't be supporting us tomorrow but we will know we are doing great if we can keep these amazing fans quiet."
More than anything else though, the match will be a battle of one of the strongest home sides against one of the finest away sides. The Blasters won six home matches in a row last season, while ATK won four games on the road. Kerala
Come Friday though, Meulensteen's challenge will be to make his players
"I always tell my players to focus on the game. Not on the occasion - the occasion is for the fans. The match is for the players."Two new managers with a Manchester United history clash in an epic opener tomorrow. Kick-off is at 8 PM.