ATK and Kerala Blasters played out a 0-0 draw in the opening match of the 2017-18 Indian Super League tonight in Kochi. The ATK vs Kerala Blasters result means both teams take home a point, in the first season opener to end in a draw in the competition’s history.
The result is also the first time ATK have drawn away in their first ISL match of the competition, having won in the three previous seasons.
Playing in front of over 37,000 fans in Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, neither team were able to break the deadlock. With Hume and Berbatov starting for Kerala Blasters, the star defenders were able to effectively shut down ATK’s efforts on goal.
Star signing Robbie Keane didn’t make an appearance in tonight’s encounter, following an achilles injury ruling him out until December. The injury means Keane misses a reunion with his former Tottenham teammate Dimitar Berbatov.
It would appear the Irishman’s presence was sorely missed, with ATK unable to capitalise on opportunities in front of goal. ATK coach Teddy Sheringham and fans will be anticipating the return of the striker.
Despite leading with 60% of possession throughout the match, ATK were unable to find the back of the net. Both ATK and Kerala hit 11 and 12 shots respectively, but ATK stayed ahead in accuracy with four on target.
The encounter also saw 28 fouls committed, but with neither side recorded yellow or red cards.
The opening match of the 2017-18 ISL kicked-off in the usual star-studded fashion, with appearances by Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif and Kerala Blasters co-owner Sachin Tendulkar.
With tonight’s ATK vs Kerala Blasters result both sides will be content with a draw, but will no doubt be looking to improve their strike-rate and convert more opportunities in their upcoming fixtures.