For all latest news, photos, video highlights, reviews, editorial and tactical analysis from Indian football, sign up for Khel Now.


                                   Poplatnik 77′

                                    Stojanovic 86′

It’s FT here in Kolkata. Kerala Blasters have deservedly earned all the three points with a clear and convincing 2-0 victory over ATK. Matej Poplatnik broke his duck during the game and finally scored with 15 minutes remaining on the clock. Coppell reacted to the game with a double change but it proved to be futile as Stojanovic doubled the advantage with a fantastic finish to guarantee the win for David James’ side. 

90’+4′ The first game of the ISL 2018/19 season comes to an end.

90’+3′ It’s Kerala who are still attacking and it is this hunger that has separated them from ATK in tonight’s game. 

90’+2′ Coppell and the entire YBK look really dejected. ATK have lacked edge in the final third.

90′ The referee’s assistant reveals that 4 minutes have been added as injury time. 4 minutes for ATK to make a comeback or get a consolation? Let’s find out.

88′ Kerala make the final change in the game. Keziron Kizito replaces the goal scorer Matej Poplatnik.

86′ GOOOOOALLLLLL!!!!!!!!! Kerala Blasters seal the game with the second goal of the game! Slavisla Stojanovic beats his man and finds the top corner with an excellent strike!

83′ Courage Pekuson takes a shot from distance and Arindam Bhattacharya manages to divert it away. 

82′ Lakic-Pesic rises high to meet the corner but yet again, could not steer it to the target.

81′ Vineeth wins a corner for the Blasters after some lackadaisical defending from ATK.

79′ ATK manager Steve Coppell reatcs to the goal and makes his third and final change of the game. Cavin Lobo comes  on for Jayesh Rane.

77′ GOOOOOAAALLLLLL!!! We have our first goal this season! Matej Poplatnik finally finds his name on the scoresheet after missing bags of chances in the game. The ball kindly fell for him after being defelcetd off Gerson Vieira and the Slovenian made no mistake in heading it home.

75′ Let’s see whether Coppell’s double change means trouble for the opposition.

74′ ATK make a double change. Kalo Uche comes on for Nasser Al Mamouni and Eugeneson Lyngdoh comes on for Balwant Singh. 

73′ Arindam Bhattacharya comes off his goal to clear the ball off the feet of Poplatnik.

70′ Kerala Blasters make their second change of the game CK Vineeth coming on from the bench to replace Seiminlen Doungel. 

69′ Doungel’s cushioned header finds Poplatnik whose volley misses the target yet again.

68′ Great delivery from a freekick finds Sandesh Jhingan in the box who couldn’t head it home.

65′ It has been 65 minutes on the clock and Steve Coppell is yet to change his on-field personnel.

64′ Both sides continue to jostle for possession in the centre of the park and the ATK half. 

61′ Manuel Lanzarote has been dropping deep and creating some wonderful chances with his line breaking passes.

59′ ATK are clearly lacking a focal point in attack with crosses from wings not finding targets inside the box.

56′ ATK forwards string together a wonderful piece of play before Al Mamouni strikes a tamed shot from distance that reaches to Dheeraj’s gloves without troubling him too much.

54′ Yet again, ATK looks comfortable with allowing Kerala the majority of the possession in their half and are pressing conservatively.

50′ The second half starts in exactly the same way as the first with Blasters dominating the posession and having more intent on reaching ATK’s final third.

47′ Mistake in the Kerala defence sees Doungel through on goal who scuffs his shot wide.

45′ Kerala have made a change at half time. Courage Pekuson comes on for Abdul Samad.

45′ Second half begins! Let’s hope for a goal or two in this half.

HT: Kerala Blasters will go into the tunnel the happier of the two sides. They have dominated the game for the most part and are quite unlucky to not have the lead by this stage. Had Poplatnik’s first touch been more decisive on a couple of occasions, the Kochi based side could’ve been 2-0 up by now. Kerala has been finding a lot of space down the wings, especially the left and crosses and corners have been decisive. However, with all that being said, ATK wouldn’t feel too hard done by since they have had the clearest chances in the match. Everton Santos’ excellent strike from distance just breezed over the top of the crossbar while Jayesh Rane missed a sitter from an excellent corner taken by Al Mamouni. Steve Coppell’s strategy of keeping his defense secure first and then catching Kerala on the break has been clear but Viera and Johnson have been caught off-guard with a couple of excellent long balls from Kerala’s deep defense and they need to be more alert and play the offside trap.

It has been an entertaining half of football despite the lack of goals. 

45’+1′ Referee’s whiste brings the first half to an end.

41′ Lalruattha’s long ball finds Poplatnik’s head close to the box who couldn’t manage enough power to steer it home.

37′ El Mamouni’s wonderful corner misses Dheeraj’s gloves but finds Jayesh Rane at the far post who misses a sitter! ATK should’ve gone 1-0 up.

36′ Pronay Halder has an excellent give and go with Balwant Singh inside the box but Dheeraj Singh makes a comfortable save. 

35′ Neither side is managing to hold on to possession for long.

33′ Kerala continue to make mazy runs down the left flank. Steve CoppellNei needs to find a solution soon to avoid his side getting more exposed.

32′ Sahal Abdul Samad managest to fool two defenders and hits a show at the near corner but Arindam has it covered.

26′ Everton Santos’ long range shot just goes over the top of the crossbar. ATK unlucky to not go 1-0 up.

22′ Sandesh Jhingan finds Poplatnik with another spectacular ball but yet again, the Slovenian’s first touch lets him down.

21′ Narzary catches Balwant Singh late but escapes without seeing a card.

20′ ATK has been extremely sloppy in possession so far and El Mamouni sees a yellow for hacking down Poplatnik.

19′ YBK chants ‘ATK! ATK!’ trying to urge ATK on.

18′ Kerala continue to dominate possession while trying to build from the back.

14′ Lanzarote went for goal from the corner and the goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh’s hand and the post prevent ATK from scoring their first! Both sides have come close to scoring from corner kicks now.

13′ ATK are starting to show more purpose now.

12′ Sena Ralte clears the header from the goalline from the first corner in the game! ATK breathes a sigh of relief.                                                                     

11′ Kerala are making a lot of inroads down the left hand flank and they secure the first corner of the game which Pesic will take.

9′ Poplatnik has been very involved in the game with almost every Kerala ball finding their target in him. 

8′ Blasters continue to dominate possession while ATK opting not to pressure high. They are taking the game to the opposition with the help of crosses from the fullbacks and wingers who are stretching the field of play and providing width.

5′ Kerala defence catches the ATK defence off guard, finding Poplatnik with a wonderful long ball whose first touch let him down in this case, wasting the second opporutnity in as many minutes.

4′ Lalruatthara finds Poplatnik in the box whose header just sways wide off target. 

2′ ATK are making the first forays into the final third.

1′ And ISL 2018/19 season kicks-off in the city of Kolkata.

7:29PM Kerala will go into the game having managed just one win in ten games against ATK. They will be eager to turn the tide this time around.

7:28PM Both the teams pose for the customary official team photo.

7:26PM Padma Shri recipient Mrs. Utha Uthup sings the national anthem out aloud as the players and the stadium become one in a show of respect.  

7:25PM The players are in the tunnel and are making their way onto the pitch.

7:23PM The Salt Lake stadium looks packed to the full, ready for the first ISL encounter of the season.

7:20PM The season officially kicked off with Italy’s federation of flag wavers, representatives of both teams ATK and Kerala Blasters, Chennaiyin FC’s co-owner Abhishek Bachchan delivering the ISL trophy his team won last year to the podium and reading the ISL pledge out aloud and finally Mrs. Nita Ambani gracing the stage to cap off a short opening ceremony along with the first Indian woman to win a track event, Hima Das. “C’mon India, let’s football!“, she declared. 

7:10PM Here are the line-ups for tonight’s game:

ATK: Arindam Bhattacharya (GK), Aiborlang Khonjee, Gerson Vieira, John Johnson, Sena Ralte, Pronay Halder, El Maimouni Noussair, Jayesh Rane, Manuel Lanzarote, Balwant Singh, Everton Santos.

Coach Stephen Coppell has chosen to field his side in a 4-2-3-1.

Kerala Blasters: Dheeraj Singh (GK), Mohamad Rakip, Sandesh Jhingan, Nemanja Lakic-Pesic, Lalruatthara, Nikola Krcmarevic, Seiminlen Doungel, Sahal Abdul Samad, Halicharan Narzary, Slavisla Stojanovic, Matej Poplatnik

Coach David James has chosen to field a 4-1-4-1 lineup.

7:05 PM ATK and Kerala Blasters meet each other for the inaugural game to kick-off the fifth edition of the Indian Super League at the famous Vivekanada Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium in Kolkata. Both the teams have quite a history having faced each other twice in the finals, with ATK taking home the trophy twice. The sides met each other in the final of the first season and the third season where Antonio Habas and Jorge Molina respectively brought the ISL trophy to the city of Kolkata edging out narrow victories over Kerala Blasters.

Iain Hume has played prolifically for both the sides previously and has been one of the finest performers to grace the ISL and this season, he joins the punditry team to cover the pre-match and post-match discussions.

Also Read: ATK Vs Kerala Pre-Match: Steve Coppell wants to make home a fortress, David James building for the future

7:00 PM Hello everyone. It is a wonderful evening here in Kolkata and it is a delight to host the ISL Season 5 opener at the Salt Lake Stadium. Both sets of players are already in the venue and are just waiting to get on the pitch to kick off their respective campaigns on a high note. The weather here is just perfect for a high voltage football game between the two Indian Super League behemoths, ATK and Kerala Blasters. Stay tuned and enjoy the commentary with Khel Now Football!

Match Preview: ISL Gameweek 1 Preview: Traditional rivals set to clash as new season kicks-off