Indian Super League (ISL) football tournament will start from today amidst stringent health security measures in vacant stadiums. Kovid-19 is the first major tournament to be held in the country after the lockdown was implemented 8 months ago. The tournament will begin with the match between former champions ATK Mohun Bagan and Kerala Blasters at the GMC Stadium in Goa and this match is expected to be quite exciting. The first biggest match of the season will be played on 27 November between ATK Mohun Bagan and SC East Bengal in Fatorda where two traditional rival teams will start their 100-year-old rivalry in a new avatar.
ATK will keep an eye on Mohun Bagan
Club ATK Mohun Bagan, formed after the merger of last year’s ISL winner ATK and ILIG team Mohun Bagan, will start this franchise-based tournament as a strong contender for the title. The team has contracted a few players like India’s star defender Sandesh Jhingan, while retaining key players of last year’s champion team ATK. It also includes Fiji’s Roy Krishna. Roy was the top goal scorer of the combined form last season with 15 goals in 21 matches. Apart from this, he also helped his teammates in scoring six goals. Roy played the captain in the final and ATK’s team was successful in winning the third ISL title.
In addition to Roy, coach Antonio Habas has selected Spain midfielder Edu Garcia, India’s Pritam Kotal, Arindam Bhattacharya and Jhingan as captain in the current season. FC Goa, who became the first Indian team to qualify for the AFC Champions League after winning the league stage last season, suffered a loss due to the loss of their star forward Ferran Corominas and Hugo Bomas. These two have been included in the list of most goalscorers in the ISL in the last few years.
Former champions Bangalore FC also claim title
In the presence of top Indian and tested foreign players, the former champions of FC FC, playing under the guidance of Carles Cuadrat, are also among the contenders for the title. The Cuadrates have been successful in keeping many players of the title-winning team in 2018-19. The team includes two-time Golden Glove winner Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and top Indian scorer Sunil Chhetri of ISL, besides defender Yuenon and players like midfielder Eric Paartalu and Dimas Delgad.
This tournament will run from November to March
Mumbai City FC will also be eyeing at least a place in the play-offs and the team will benefit from the presence of Sergio Lobera, who is associated with the team except FC Goa. FC Goa, led by Lobera, made it to the finals of the 2018-19 season.
Sporting club East Bengal and two-time ISL champion Chennaiyin FC are also expected to perform well under the guidance of Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler. The tournament, which runs from November to March, is being held only in Goa due to the epidemic. The 11 franchisees participating in the tournament are divided into three groups. There will be four teams in Group A while three in Group B and C.
ATK Mohun Bagan’s team will take on Kerala Blasters in the first match of Indian Super League
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