Three months of thrills and spills are set for a conclusion on Sunday evening when Atletico De Kolkata will encounter Kerala Blasters to reconquer the silverware in Hero ISL 2016 final.
Atletico De Kolkata, the most consistent outfit of ISL since its inauguration in 2014, are ready to challenge the Yellow Brigade whom they defeated in an identical fixture in order to become the first ever champions in ISL history. However, Kerala Blasters are eyeing for a revenge in front of their home crowd with hope to procure the title that they missed out narrowly a couple of years back.
Kerala Blasters vs Atletico De Kolkata Injuries and suspensions:
Steve Coppell, the Kerala boss, will miss Spanish midfielder Josu due to booking who played a pivotal part in their resurgence after a miserable start of the campaign. Marquee defender Aaron Hughes had a cramp during semifinal against Delhi Dynamos but is hopeful of a return before Sunday.
Kolkata have a couple of players suspended for this fixture as left-back Robert and forward Juan Belencoso were shown red during their semifinal outing against Mumbai City FC. Defender Arnab Mondal is ruled out as well due to injury concerns.
Kerala Blasters vs Atletico De Kolkata Probable LineUps:
Kerala Blasters: Nandy; Hughes, Hengbart, Jhingan, Mahamat; Hossain, Kadio, Belfort, Nazon; Rafique, Vineeth
Atletico De Kolkata: Debjit; Prabir Das, Sereno, Tiri, Keegan Pereira; Borja, Jewel Raja, Hume, Didika, Doutie; Postiga
Kerala Blasters vs Atletico De Kolkata Key Players:
All eyes will be on East Bengal attacker Mohammed Rafique who scored the winning goal for ATK during closing stages of extra time and helped his former employers to lift the title. However, Rafique has joined Kerala prior to this campaign and scored the winning goal in tie-breaker against Delhi to take his side to the final. Haitian forward Kervens Belfort is in outstanding form so is C.K. Vineeth, who has scored five goals in six outings and guided the Blasters to qualify in knock-out stages from a touch-and-go predicament.
Frenchman Cédric Hengbart has been majestic alongside veteran Aaron Hughes who have made their defense unbreakable. Mehtab Hossain in a destructive role in front of the back four has been a revolution during this campaign.
Kolkata are arguably the most balanced side of ISL 2016 and have multiple players who can prove to be game-changers. They have a number of youthful Indians who have been splendid so far for the Bengal Tigers. However, José Francisco Molina, the Atletico boss, will bank on Iain Hume, Sameehg Doutie, Javi Lara and marquee Helder Postiga to score past a disciplined Blasters backline. Borja Fernandez has been sublime so far along with winger Lalrindika Ralte and custodian Debjit Majumder who were crucial in defeating mighty Mumbai in the semis.
Kerala Blasters vs Atletico De Kolkata Previous Meetings:
They have met twice during this campaign and the Yellow Brigade have failed to register a win against their opponent. Their first meeting ended in a 0-1 defeat in front of home crowd when Javi Lara scored the only goal of the game. The return leg fixture ended in a 1-1 draw. CK Vineeth’s early goal (8′) was cancelled out by former Blasters Stephen Pearson’s strike just ten minutes later as the match ended with this scoreline after ninety minutes.
Kerala Blasters vs Atletico De Kolkata Latest Form:
Kerala Blasters: L-W-W-D-W-L
Atletico De Kolkata: D-W-D-D-W-D
The game will be telecast on Sunday from 7:00 p.m. IST in Star Network( Star Sports
Photo by mark.watmough