Hero ISL 2016 final, Kerala Blasters vs Atletico de Kolkata preview: Will it be Blasters revenge or Kolkata brace?
Kerala Blasters will host Atletico de Kolkata in Kochi, at Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium, for the Hero Indian Super League 2016 final. Both teams are familiar with each-other at this stage, as they both met before in ISL inaugural season final. Last time Atletico de Kolkata got better off Kerala Blasters, and it’s time to avenge for Machans infront of their home fans. Will it be Blasters revenge or Kolkata brace, can only be find out on Sunday night, at the grand stage of Hero ISL Season 3 finale.
Kerala Blasters have been supported brilliantly by their fans, as they always supported their team presenting a packed Jawaharlal Nehru stadium. Blasters also didn’t disappoint their fans winning their last six matches at home turf, but they haven’t been able to outperform against their nemesis ATK, who become the only team this season to defeat Blasters at home. Kerala only victory came against ATK in ISL inaugural season when they get past 2-1 at home in Kochi. Since then Atletico de Kolkata has defeated Machans in ISL 2014 final, both fixtures of 2015 league games, and also in away game at Kochi. And between them, Kerala only managed to pull a draw at Rabindra Sarobar, in Kolkata. If Kerala wants a revenge, and really eager to win Hero Indian Super League season 3, they really need to bring their A-game on super Sunday. Kerala will be heavily relying on home grown talents; CK Vineeth and Sandesh Jhingan, and getting the support from Duckens Nazon, Mohammed Rafi and Kervens Belfort.
Atletico de Kolkata has only lost two matches in their way to the final, and they have been Hero ISL most consistent team. They will be favourite once again to replicate their 2014 feat, to put hands on Hero ISL trophy second time in three seasons. The Bengal Tigers are most accomplished team in Hero ISL, as they have the best defence as well as attacking prowess. Stars like Iain Hume, Javi Lara, Helder Postiga, Borja Fernandez, and Sameehg Doutie starts for ATK in their starting lineup, enough for opposition to fear about.
Kerala reached to the final getting past Delhi Dynamos in semifinal on penalties. Blasters had 1-0 advantage from home leg, but Dynamos put a good fight in Delhi winning their home fixture 2-1. But in the end, they didn’t look prepared for the penalty shootout and lost 0-3, as they failed to find the net from the spot every single time. Whereas ATK reaches to the final defeating Mumbai City FC 3-2 on aggregate, winning home leg 3-2, and stopping Mumbai to 0-0 in away leg.
Kerala will be missing the services of influential midfielder Josu Currais as he got the automatic suspension with his bookings against Delhi Dynamos, whereas Atletico de Kolkata will be without defender Robert Lalthlamuana and forward Juan Belencoso owing to their own suspensions as well.
But, it doesn’t matter, both teams have to give their best for Hero Indian Super League season 3 final showdown. There will be lot of tention and heat on the pitch, as their best players from past have changes colours as well. ATK 2014 final goal scorer Mohammed Rafique plays in Yellow for Machans this season, whereas Machans top goal scorer of 2014 – Iain Hume plays for ATK now, and he is serving in his best power for them as well, scoring 7 goals this season as well. Whereas off the pitch two of India’s former cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly will up against each-other for the second time for the final showdown. Last time Bengal Tiger got an edge over Master Blaster, now it’s time for Master to teach a lesson to the Tiger.
Kerala Blasters FC: Graham Stack, Sandip Nandy, Kunal Sawant, Aaron Hughes, Cedric Hengbart, Sandesh Jhingan, Gurwinder Singh, Pratik Chaudhary, Elhadji Ndoye, Didier Boris Kadio, Azrack Mahamat, Mehtab Hossain, Mohammed Rafique, Ishfaq Ahmed, Vinit Rai, Michael Chopra, Antonio German, Kervens Belfort, Duckens Nazon, Mohammed Rafi, Thongkhosiem Haokip, Farukh Chaudhary, CK Vineeth, Rino Anto
Atlético de Kolkata: Debjit Majumder, Dani Mallo, Shilton Paul, Arnab Mondal, Henrique Fonseca Sereno, Jose Arroyo, Keegan Pereira, Kinshuk Debnath, Prabir Das, Pritam Kotal, Abinash Ruidas, Bidyananda Singh, Bikash Jairu, Bikramjit Singh, Borja Fernandez, Javi Lara, Jewel Raja, Lalrindika Ralte, Ofentse Nato, Sameehg Doutie, Stephen Pearson, Helder Postiga, Iain Hume