It is the curtain-raiser of the Hero Indian Super League 2021/22 season as last season finalists, ATK Mohun Bagan faces Kerala Blasters at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa. The league is once again being played in the bubble in a centralized zone. The fixture, of course, is a repeat of the season opener of last campaign.
ATKMB vs KBFC Match Details :
When: Friday, 19 November
Time: 19:30 (IST)
Where: PJN Stadium, Fatorda
ATKMB vs KBFC Match Preview :
ATK Mohun Bagan and Kerala Blasters will use this match to set the early tone to achieve contrasting objectives in this new season. For Habas's men, they played continental football a few months back with a humiliating 6-0 defeat to FC Nassaf in the quarterfinals of the AFC Cup ending all dreams to win the competition. That was not the only heartbreak ATKMB suffered this year. The Green and Maroons came very close to top the league table but lost on the final day to closest rivals Mumbai City FC and eventually the Winner's shield, earning a place in the group stages of the AFC Championship League 2022. The Islanders also inflict more damage by securing the ISL title over the same opposition with a 2-1 victory in the final. Failing to secure anything true last campaign, the Mariners drew in record-breaking signings like Amrinder Singh & Hugo Boumous from defending champions MCFC, youngster Liston Colaco from Hyderabad, Deepak Tangri from Chennaiyan and UEFA Euro campaigner Joni Kauko from Finland. Their aim is clear to achieve what eluded their last time out.
For Kerala, it is to come back from a disappointing last campaign that came up with a lot of promises. Coach Kibu Vicuna was sacked after his side finished 10th last season in an eleven side league with 17 points and only three wins to their name. Only Odisha FC had a poorer record than the Tuskers after 20 games. Their defense leaked 36 goals even after having a named back four. As a case, the club went for a major overhaul if not total, first bringing in a new manager in Ivan Vukomanovic. The Serbian-managed sides in Cyprus, Belgium, and Slovakia so come with a bag full of experience. Signings like Sipovic from Chennaiyan, Khabra from BFC, Adrian Luna and Alvaro Vazquez from Sporting Gijon in the Spanish second division bring in a lot of optimism for the Manjappadas. Adding those arrivals with the blend of talents in the team and known faces like Jeakson and Sahal will surely give the side the right rhythm to move forward.
ATKMB vs KBFC Team News :
Due to foreign players' rule change in ISL with only four footballers allowed on the pitch from the quota, both teams had to act sensibly to field them into the starting spot. For ATKMB, they are sure to name goalkeeper Amrinder Singh and Hugo Boumous as starters with Liston Colaco and Joni Kauko waiting for their chances from the bench. Antonio Habas has expressed in his pre-match presser that Boumous will be treated as just another player in the team but it is sure he will bring in a lot of creativity. The Frenchman showed his magic in the AFC Cup group stages and is ready to lit up yet another ISL campaign as he did with FC Goa and Mumbai City previously. Star defender Sandesh Jhinghan made the sensational move to Croatia in the summer so the defense has to cope up with his absence. Roy Krishna will be willing to bag the golden boot finally after narrowly missing out on two other occasions but he was named the player of the tournament last time out.
Kerala's coach Vukomanovic has stressed the stamina and physicality of his players. He has also intended to use Sahal Abdul Samad and new arrival Adrian Luna in the same team even though they orchestrate in the playmaker role. The Serbian has citied their versatility to come up good for the Blue and Yellows. Luna, in particular, comes with a good reputation from A-League. He has contributed to 17 goals during his two-season stint at Melbourne City FC. Luna and Alvaro Vazquez are expected to make their debut with the 30-year old arriving in India after a bag full of experience playing for various clubs in his country, Spain and even in the Premier League.
ATKMB vs KBFC Predicted Lineups :
ATKMB: Amrinder Singh; Pritam Kotal, Tiri, Subhasish Bose, Deepak Tangri
Carl McHugh, Lenny Rodrigues, Hugo Boumous, David Williams, Roy
Krishna, Manvir Singh
KBFC: Albino Gomes (GK), Nishu Kumar, Enis Sipovic, Sandip Singh, Jessel Carneiro, Jeakson Singh, Sahal Abdul Samad, Prasanth, Harmanjot Khabra, Adrian Luna, Rahul KP, Alvaro Vazquez
Match Prediction: ATKMB 2-0 KBFC
It was a tight affair between the sides only separated by a goal in the opening game last season while the second one provided an absolute thriller with five goals. In both of them, ATK Mohun Bagan prevailed. Something similar is expected over here but with neither side hitting the gears in the first game. However, it will be Habas's side who will come up with the goods again but this time scoring more than once.
ATKMB vs KBFC Dream11 Team Prediction :
GK: A. Singh (ATKMB)
DEF: Kotal (ATKMB), Tiri (ATKMB), Sipovic (KBFC)
MID: J. Singh (KBFC), McHugh (ATKMB), Sahal (KBFC), Boumous (ATKMB)
FW: Rahul KP (KBFC), Krishna (ATKMB), Williams (ATKMB)
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