ISL 3 Final Preview: Blasters take on Atletico de Kolkata for the decider

A repeat of Inaugural final will be in witness, when Kerala Blasters host Atletico de Kolkata in the final with an added advantage of playing in front of jam packed home crowd

ISL 3 Final

The third edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) will conclude this Sunday at Kochi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium where the host’s home support has been one of the talking points of the season.

The hosts didn’t have the best of starts in this ISL; unable to score a single goal meant Blasters languished at the bottom with just a point in three games. But thereafter things changed for the Steve Coppell side, as the not began collecting points away from home but went on a six-match unbeaten run at home too.

The blasters defence has been the biggest plus point for this season with a reliable 41 year old Sandip Nandy at the back and Sandesh Jhingan back with his season 1 form the Indian contingency has very well supported the Foreign dup of Cedric Hengbart and Aaron Hughes.

But Blasters will miss the services of Josu, who has picked up two yellow cards in the play-offs and probably be replaced by Didier Kadio at the left-back. Mehtab Hossain and Azrack Mahamat will continue to try and win tackles and interceptions in midfield.

The attack force of Kerala has been more often than not reliable with players like Duckens Nazon, Mohammed Rafique, German and Kervens Belfort upfront chipping in with important goal. The introduction of city boy Bengaluru FC forward Chekiyot Vineeth has also immensely benefitted the team.

At the other end, Atletico de Kolkata are the only team to have won in Kochi this season. The visitors have an advantage as their important players were rested against the Mumbai in the second leg game. Players like Helder Postiga, Iain Hume will be fresh for the final tie of the season.

Also Read: ISL 3: Blasters beat Delhi on penalties

The former Villarreal coach’s selection has left many stupefied but to his credit, he has got it right on most occasions. Juan Balencoso is unavailable after his stupid red card for his participation in the altercation earlier this week in Mumbai while Robert Lalthlamuana too is suspended.

Debjit Majumder is expected to start in between the sticks after once again performing impressively in a high pressure game in the second leg play-off. Prabir Das and Keegan Pereira could start as full-backs along with Henrique Sereno to man the defence.

Jewel Raja or Stephen Pearson may get the nod in the midfield, alongside the all important Borja Fernandez who will once again look to control the game in midfield. Sameehg Doutie, Helder Postiga, Iain Hume and Abinash Ruidas will lead the attack

The likes of Borja, Doutie and Postiga have the ability to carve open a defense at will and the battle between them and Kerala blasters defense will be an interesting duel to watch.

While ATK will look forward to win their second ISL title in three seasons, Kerala seek redemption for their 2014 ISL final loss in Mumbai when Mohammed Rafi scored in the final moments of extra time to break the hearts of blasters fan.

It has been two years since the inaugural final and Kerala once again face their old rival. A lot has changed since the last final, who shall reign supreme on Sunday evening – Kerala Blasters or Atletico de Kolkata?

Kick-off: 7 pm IST

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