The first match of Hero ISL between home side NorthEast United FC and Kerala Blasters FC will kick-off at 7.00pm …
NorthEast United FC will take on Kerala Blasters in the first match of Indian Super League Season 3 at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati today.
Both teams are desperate to get their season off to a winning a start after disappointing campaigns last year.
NEUFC seek to reverse the result of last season’s opening match against Kerala Blasters, where they were thrashed 3-1.
As indicated at the pre-match conference by coach Nelo Vingada, the team probably will field a 4-2-3-1 formation, with foreign players in midfield creating space for the Indian players in attacking positions.
The role of the last man in defense is almost certainly reserved for India’s most gifted goalie Subrata Paul. While Malison Alves and Lazzarati will be at centre-back. The ever dependeble Robin Gurung and Nirmal Chettri are in the probable starting XI for tommorow’s match.
Brazilian Rowllin Borges, marquee man Didier Zokora will keep the central midfield spots.
The goal machine and man to watch for NEUFC Nico Valez is certain for today’s game with Seityasen Singh set to play on the right wing.
Coming to Kerela Blasters, the team is already short of its two key players adding one injury to midfielder Azrack Mahamat. Bangaluru FC players C. K. Vineeth and Rino Anto will miss some initial games due to their AFC Cup engagements for Bengaluru FC.
As the coach Steve Coppell will probably stick to a 4-5-1 formation, marquee man Aaron Hughes and Hengbart will form a solid defense along with Sandesh Jhingan and Gurwinder Singh.
With Thongkhosiem Haokip in attack Mehtab Hussain may be in at central midfield.
Its obvious that both teams would love to start with a win but it has to be remembered that having beaten NEUFC in both encounters with large margins in the previous season, Kerala already have a psychological advantage.
But, with a complete makeover this season in addition to home advantage and the 35000-odd supporters chanting together for the Highlanders, the game could be a tight one .
Gates to Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium will open at 3.00pm allowing fans to arrive early and grab their seats for the grand opening ceremony and avoid rush hour traffic. The Opening Ceremony will kick off at 5.30pm sharp.
Catch the opening ceremony on Star Sports 1, Star Sports HD1, Star Sports 2, Star Sports HD2, Star Gold, Star Gold HD, Star Jalsha Movies, Star Jalsha Movies HD, Asia Net Movies, Vijay Super and Hot Star (deferred live) from 6.15pm .
Both managers will make their debut in Indian football.
Kerala Blasters won both meetings between the two sides last season.
The corresponding fixture finished 3-1 to the men from the South last campaign.
Match Preview by Himangshu Rajkhowa- Khel Now Correspondent from Guwahati.