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Kerala Blasters v ATK, Matchday 1

Kerala Blasters will play ATK in the Indian Super League on Sunday, October 20th. Kick-off will take place at 7.30 pm local time.

India Bet Highlights

  • Both teams have new managers in place for this season. For Kerala Dutchman Eelco Schattorie has moved from NorthEast United to take over from Portugal’s Nelo Vingada, whilst the Spaniard Antonio Lopez Habas has succeeded Steve Coppell at ATK.
  • Among ATK’s overseas contingent are former Middlesbrough academy graduate John Johnson, who played for the likes of Tranmere Rovers and Northampton Town, before joining Bengaluru in 2013.
  • ATK have won the ISL twice, Kerala Blasters are still waiting for their first title.

Kerala Blasters

Kerala Blasters had a very disappointing 2018 – 2019 season, finishing 9th in the table with just two wins, although they did manage nine draws. They were also the second lowest goal scorers in the division, finding the net 18 times only.

To try to rectify their fortunes, they have recruited manager Eelco Schattorie from NorthEast United, who has a lot of experience with Indian football, He guided his side to a play-off berth last season, and he has managed United SC and East Bengal in the past.

Schattorie has brought centre forward Bartholomew Ogbeche with him, and has immediately installed him with captain.

The squad has been strengthened in all departments. Bilal Khan, TP Rehenesh and Shibin Raj will fight it over for the goalkeeper’s jersey, whilst Gianni Zuiverloon, Jairo Rodrigues, Jessel Carneiro and Abneet Bharti have been brought in to bolster the defence. Midfield has been reinforced with the additions of Moustapha, Sergio Cidoncha, Mario Arqués, and Darren Caldeira, with Seityasen Singh and Arjun Jayaraj offering options on the wing.

New signings Basit Ahmed Bhat, Rahul KP, Raphael Messi Bouli, Samuel Lalmuanpuia and Mohammed Rafi will compete to supplement Ogbeche in attack.

ATK

Having won the ISL twice in its early years, ATK have endured a tough few seasons, and could only manage sixth last year. In a bid to restore former glories, Spaniard Jose Antonio Habas has been reappointed as manager, and he has overhauled their squad, bringing in a mixture of youth and experience.

In goal, teenager Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem will compete with Arindam Bhattacharya for the number one jersey. Meanwhile, defence, which was arguably the strongest part of the team last campaign, has been further reinforced with the experienced Anas Edathodikam whilst Salam Ranjan Singh, the former East Bengal player has also joined, as has Spaniard Arindam Bhattacharya.

Habas has also turned to Spain to recruit former Real Madrid academy player Javí Hernandez in midfield, whilst Sehnaj Singh and Michael Regin are have also signed.

Attack was a real problem for ATK last season, and they could only muster 18 goals. To address that, they have brought in marquee signing, Fijian Roy Krishna, former top scorer in New Zealand’s A-League, and they will be hoping he can combine with fellow Antipodean, David Williams of Australia, to offer a potent threat up front.

Final Thoughts

Both teams have made substantial overhauls to their coaching and playing staff in order to try and improve on what was a disappointing campaign for both clubs last season. However, there have been so many new signings on both sides, that it may take time for the new faces to get used to each other. The corresponding fixture in January this year ended as a draw, and it would not be a big surprise if there was a similar outcome this time.

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