ISL 2021-22 Live Score and Updates, ATK Mohun Bagan vs Kerala Blasters: Hugo Boumous gave ATK Mohun Bagan the lead in just 3rd minute and his second in the 39th, Roy Krishna netted from the penalty spot in the 27th and Liston Colaco curled in a stunner in the 50th after Sahal Abdul Samad equalised in the 24th and Jorge Diaz got another in the 69th for Kerala Blasters in the opening match of the 2021-22 season of the Indian Super League on November 19 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Margao in Goa.
While ATK Mohun Bagan narrowly missed out on the title last season, Kerala Blasters finished second last on the standings.
However, with the stakes pretty even in the upcoming match, both sides would be aiming to bag three points and kick-start their campaign on a high.
ATK Mohun Bagan have won two, lost two and shared the spoils in the remaining of their last five competitive matches, which also includes the 1-2 loss to Mumbai City FC in the final of the ISL last term. Following which, ATK Mohun Bagan have been pretty consistent in the 2021 AFC Cup, until they were handed a humiliating 0-6 defeat against Nasaf FC in the inter-zonal semi-final.
Kerala Blasters have failed to register a win in each of their last five matches in the ISL, which justifies why they finished at the 10th spot last season, with just three wins in the entire season. Even though the Tuskers featured in the 2021 Durand Cup, they fielded a second-string side that crashed out in the group stage itself.
Unlike a few teams in the ISL, the ATK Mohun Bagan side have made fewer but significant changes to their roster ahead of the new season. The void created by the departure of Arindam Bhattacharja was taken care of by roping in Amrinder Singh. However, it would be difficult to find a replacement for Sandesh Jhinghan, with Sumeet Rathi their best bet to fill in the shoes. The inclusion of Liston Colaco in the wings and Hugo Boumous in the playmaking zone just bolsters the star-studded team even further.
Antonio Lopez Habas is unlikely to tweak his formation which he used in the most of the AFC Cup games earlier this year, with Fijian striker Roy Krishna leading the attack. However, with Boumous and Tiri anticipated to make a start, it would be a tough call to shortlist their fourth foreigner, with heavyweights like David Williams and 2020 Euro Cup star Joni Kauko among the options. There are no injury concerns as of now in the Bagan camp.
Known for playing a conservative brand of football, it would be very interesting to see if the Spaniard walks down the same path, especially in the presence of Boumous and Colaco in their ranks, with both known for playing an entertaining brand of football.
The Blasters have undergone a complete makeover in the foreigners department, after a disastrous outing in the previous season. The signing of former Chennaiyin FC star Enes Sipovic and Croat Marko Leskovic have made the intent clear regarding their central defence, after conceding 36 goals in the previous season.
Meanwhile, Indian stars like Nishu Kumar, skipper Jessel Carneiro and Sanjeev Stalin would be more than effective in full-back positions.
With goal scoring also a concern for the Tuskers, the management have reinforced their squad with experienced winger Adrian Luna, who recently guided Melbourne City FC to an A-League title and Argentine striker Jorge Pereyra Diaz, on loan.
New recruit Adrian Luna will highlight the playmaking zone alongside veteran Harmanjyot Singh Khabra, while players like Sahal Abdul Samad, Jeakson Singh and Sathiyen Singh will play the supporting act. There are no injury concerns in the Blasters camp so far.
In spite of fielding quality players, Kerala Blasters have failed to deliver when it mattered the most, that’s where Serbian head coach Ivan Vukamanovic comes in.
Having been in charge of teams like Standard Liege and Slovan Bratislava, the tactician would use his experience to mould the team, which has not played much football together, into an efficient unit as the season progresses.