The Indian Super League kicked-off to a stunning start with Atletico de Kolkata's convicing 3-0 win over Mumbai City FC. NorthEast United carried forward the trend of home sides claiming all the points as they overcame the Sachin Tendulkar-owned Kerala Blasters. (Fixtures| Standings | Highlights | Blog)
21.20 (IST): Sachin Tendulkar is pretty happy with his team's efforts. He tweeted:
20.58 (IST): It's all over! NorthEast United beat Kerala Blasters 1-0 to open their Indian Super League campaign with a win.
20.47 (IST): What a glorious chance! NorthEast United had a great opportunity to go up 2-0 ahead but failed to take it. Kerala keeper David James was out of his line and a shot from way outside the box rattles the crossbar.
20.41 (IST):What late drama! A couple of goal-line clearances has helped NorthEast United hold on to their slender 1-0 lead vs Kerala Blasters. Just under seven minutes remaining on the clock.
20.27 (IST): Just 20 minutes to go and NorthEast United still lead 1-0 vs Kerala Blasters. Can they hold on to their lead?
20.10 (IST): Trailing by a goal, Kerala Blasters come out with a lot more intent in the second half. Ten minutes played in the second half, NorthEast United still leading 1-0.
19.45 (IST): GOAL!NorthEast United take a 1-0 lead vs Kerala Blasters in the 45th minute. Spaniard Koke's shot beats David James' full length dive and crashes into the back of the net. The hosts go into the half-time break with a one-goal lead.
19.33 (IST): Oh my, what a save!! David James is brought into action against the run of play. Durga Boro took a shot from 30 yards out and it looked like it would slot into the top corner, only for an outstretched James to parry it away. 33rd minute, 0-0.
19.27 (IST): Kerala Blasters are giving NorthEast United defenders a tough time. Striker Sabeeth cuts past a couple of defenders and takes a shot from outside the box. An outstretched save from the keeper gives Kerala a corner. 27th minute, 0-0.
19.23 (IST): Halfway through the first half and no goals yet. Kerala Blasters have been menacing with their attack but nothing good enough to trouble the scorers.
19.18 (IST): Iain Hume comes agonisingly close to putting Kerala Blasters ahead. He connects a pass and taps it behind the keeper, only to be flagged off as off-side.
19.16 (IST): 15 minutes gone, no goals yet. A lot of end-to-end action has kept the crowd cheering loudly but neither goalkeepers have dealt with any serious threat yet.
19.07 (IST): 4th minute: NorthEast United's David Ngaihte gets the ball way outside the box and takes his chances from that distance. David James makes a fairly simple collection. Positive start from the hosts and the crowd is fully behind their side.
19.01 (IST): NorthEast United XI: Alexandros Tzorvas, Aiborlang Khongjee, Joan Capdevila, Miguel Garcia (c), Robin Gurung, Zodingliana, Felipe Castro, David Ngaihte, James Keene, Durga Boro, Koke.
19.01 (IST): Kerala Blasters XI: David James, Cedric Hengbart, James McAllister, Nirmal Chettri, Singh, Avinabo Bag, Mehtab Hossain, Penn Orji (c), Pearson, Iain Hume, Sabeeth.
18.52 (IST): Two top-class marquee players in action today! Kerala Blasters' David James vs NorthEast United's Joan Capdevila. James comes with 572 appearances in the EPL while Capdevila has won the World Cup with Spain in 2010.
18.45 (IST): This is something new, something different. After last night's opening game, the atmosphere is electric today. The team is really excited. I am loving this so far: David James, Kerala Blasters' marquee player-cum-manager.
Stary showdown awaits Guwahati
John Abraham's NorthEast United will host Sachin Tendulkar-owned Kerala Blasters in the second fixture of the inaugural season of the Indian Super League.
The Ricki Herbert-coached home side will bank on the support of a fanatical home following and a potent attack to help breach the Kerala citadel, which will be guarded by a hugely competent defence.
The home side will reap the cohesive benefits of its youthful, albeit relatively inexperienced, Indian contingent who hail from Shillong Lajong FC.
The visitors will not be disadvantaged as their Indian players have been handpicked by assistant coach Trevor Morgan from among his former East Bengal wards. All eyes will on the mercurial attacking mid-fielder Mehtab Hossain, who was Morgan's first pick during the domestic player draft. (Read full preview)
Glitz, Glamour and Football: ISL's big debut
Sunday witnessed large sections of fans in India throng to the iconic Salt Lake Stadium with high anticipation as the tournament that was billed as one that would change the landscape of Indian football was about to get underway. What followed was glitz and glamour as some of the biggest stars from the field of Bollywood, cricket and football converged on a single, spectacular platform. After an exceptional opening ceremony filled with song and dance, home side Atletico de Kolkata gave their fans more reasons to cheer about as they demolished Mumbai City FC in the opening tie of the tournament. (Opening Ceremony Highlights)
Sachin Tendulkar's pep talk
Sachin Tendulkar will share his massive experience of playing a sport at the international level with Kerala Blasters ahead of their ISL opener against NorthEast United FC in Guwahati. He also tweeted:
England's Veteran, Kerala's Pride
David James, England's veteran goalkeeper, and Kerala Blasters' marquee player-cum-manager has made 572 appearances in the England Premier League, playing for Liverpool, Aston Villa, West Ham United, Manchester City, Portsmouth.
Intrigue surrounds the Kerala Blasters goalkeeping spot, as it remains to be seen whether marquee player-manager and England's veteran goalkeeper David James will play himself, or take up managerial duties on the sidelines.
World Cup winner on Indian Shores
NorthEast United will employ a world cup winner in the left back position in Spanish international Joan Capdevila. Capdevila was part of Spain's splendid World Cup-winning squad in 2010.