Eight teams from all over India, star-studded team owners and two-month long on-field action! India's biggest football showpiece event - Indian Super League - is here! The tournament that will see some veteran stars like England's David James and Spain's Luis Garcia is being billed as the tournament that will change the fortunes of Indian football. Much like the Indian Premier League, the local stars will get an excellent opportunity to share the dressing room with some world-class footballers and learn from their experiences. The first game of the tournament saw a fine display of football from the home side Atletico de Kolkata, who began their campaign with a 3-0 victory over Mumbai City FC at home. Catch all highlights of the opening ceremony and the tournament opener here. (Fixtures | Updates)
21.00 (IST): All over! Atletico de Kolkata beat Mumbai City FC 3-0 in the opening match of the inaugural season.
20.33 (IST) GOAL! A stunning volley from Borja Fernandez makes it 2-0 for Atletico de Kolkata vs Mumbai City FC in the 70th minute.
20.26 (IST): Collision! Atletico de Kolkata striker Fikru Teferra collides with Mumbai City FC goalkeeper Subrata Paul in a one-on-one attempt at goal. Paul is still down.
19.51 (IST): Half-time! Atletico de Kolkata lead 1-0 vs Mumbai City FC.
19.29 (IST): 25 minutes played, the scores still nil-nil. Lot of attacking intent from both sides.
19.11 (IST): 6' First real chance for Atletico! Baljit Sahni was one-on-one with the Mumbai keeper but failed to convert.
19.06 (IST): Crunching tackle! Mumbai City FC skipper Mohammad Nabi gets the first-ever yellow card of the tournament.
19.03 (IST): Mumbai City FC line-up: Subrata, Deepak Mandal, Cmovs, Friedrich, Raju, Letzelter, Stohanzl, Tiago, Nabi (C), Nadaya, Ralte
19.03 (IST): Atletico de Kolkata line-up: Subhashish, Denzil, Josemi, Arnab Mondal, Saha, Borja, Nato, Jofre, Garcia (C), Fikru, Sahni
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18.55 (IST): After a colourful and glamorous opening ceremony, Atletico de Kolkata and Mumbai City FC kick-start the opening game of the inaugural season.
18.40 (IST): Atletico de Kolkata co-owner Sourav Ganguly and marquee player Luis Garcia walk out to the middle. They're followed by Delhi Dynamos' 'cheergirl' Parineeti Chopra walks out with Italian goal-machine Alessandro Del Piero. Next up is NorthEast United co-owner John Abraham and Rickie Herbert. They're followed by Goa FC co-owner Dattaraj Salgaokar and marquee star Robert Pires and Chennaiyin FC co-owner Abhishek Bachchan with star player Elano. After them are Pune City FC co-owner Hrithik Roshan and star player David Trezeguet, who jog out to the middle. More Bollywood stardom follows as Mumbai City FC co-owner Ranbir Kapoor and marquee player Freddie Ljunjberg walk out to cheering fans. Fans cheer the loudest as Kerala Blasters' co-owner Sachin Tendulkar walks out with star keeper David James
18.28 (IST): The opening ceremony kick-started with drummers representing all eight teams.
18.24 (IST): The Salt Lake Stadium is up and ready for a footballing extravaganza!
18.22 (IST): Time for song and dance! Musicians Salim-Sulaiman and Bollywood diva Priyanka Chopra light up the stage in Kolkata.
18.20 (IST): While musicians from all corners of India perform, an ensemble of Bollywood and cricket stars grace the stands.
18.15 (IST): The crowd at the Salt Lake stadium are now witnessing the glorious past of Indian football.
18.05 (IST): Fireworks, Music and Dance!The Indian Super League opening ceremony is now underway.
17.50 (IST): The Indian Super League promises some exciting sub-plots from the word go! Local boy Subrata Paul, who has played for arch-rivals Mohun Bagan as well as East Bengal, will stand in goal for Mumbai FC against home side Atletico de Kolkata.
17.25 (IST): Later today, Former French striker Nicolas Anelka and ex-Spanish winger Luis Garcia will be in action when Mumbai FC take on Atletico de Kolkata.
17.25 (IST): Factfile:
- Nicolas Anelka has played for 11 clubs including Real Madrid, Chelsea and PSG. Mumbai City FC is his 12th.
- Atletico de Kolkata's Spanish winger Luis Garcia won the Champions League with Liverpool F.C. in 2004/05
17.20 (IST): The football frenzy is starting to grip the city of joy.
17.02 (IST): Did you know: The prize money for the ISL is Rs. 15 crores. It is the second richest sporting event in India after the Indian Premier League (Prize money Rs. 35 crores)
17.00 (IST): Besides elevating Indian football to a new level, the ISL will aim to bind a historic football 'divide.'
16.57 (IST): The opening match will be held at the famous Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. Did you know, this iconic stadium, which is the home ground of Atletico de Kolkata, has a total capacity of 1,20,000.
16.52 (IST):The Indian Super League, which kick-starts today with the opening tie between Atletico de Kolkata and Mumbai FC, will go on till December 20.
16.45 (IST): The Chief Operating Officer of the Indian Premier League - Sundar Raman - has wished the Indian Super League well ahead of the inaugural season.
Wishing a wonderful beginning for @IndSuperLeague - New chapter now hopes- Sundar Raman (@ramansundar) October 12, 2014
It's common to see international cricketers playing football during warm-up sessions before nets. In the ISL, some of India's top cricketers have become co-owners of teams. Most say they are passionate about football and have no business interest in mind. Football historian Gautam Roy (firstname.lastname@example.org) has this interesting information to share:
"Many current and not-so-old Test cricketers who have thrown their hat in ISL have gone on record stating football was their first love prior to taking up the gentleman's game. Pankaj Roy is the only Indian Test player who came close to Denis Compton (who played both cricket and football for England, internationally). Roy played in the Calcutta Football League for three years representing Sporting Union Club in the mid-Forties prior to making his Test debut versus England in 1951. The former Test opener, who played as inside right, scored 17 goals in his career including strikes against the three giants, East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting. He also turned out for IFA vs Burma and for Indians vs Europeans."
Glitz and Glamour for ISL's Grand Opening
A grand musical treat awaits the Indian Super League! Representing Kolkata at their home venue will be percussionist and musician Bickram Ghosh, while percussionist Sivamani will play for Chennai. Chenda players will represent Kerala, Assamese 'dhaki' for Guwahati team, Puneri dhol players for Pune and Aslam Dafrani would represent Delhi. Each team would consist of twenty drummers.
The event will also see Bollywood diva Priyanka Chopra set the stage on fire by dancing on a montage of hit songs from her career. From Amitabh Bachchan to Sachin Tendulkar to Mukesh and Nita Ambani, the who's who of Bollywood, cricket and business world will attend the high profile opening ceremony at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan this Sunday.
The Indian Super League has a lot of star power throwing their weight behind the tournament. Indian cricket star Sachin Tendulkar co-owns the Kerala Blasters while Virat Kohli has stakes in Goa FC. Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, a fan favourite in the streets of Chennai thanks to the Indian Premier League, has signed up as the co-owner of Chennaiyin FC. Even Bollywood has a massive representation in the tournament, with stars like Ranbir Kapoor, Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham co-owning Mumbai FC, Chennaiyin FC and NorthEast United respectively.
A lot of world-class international stars will ply their trade in India for two months in the Indian Super League. From former England goalkeeper David James and Spain midfielder Luis Garcia to French striker Nicolas Anelka, Italian goal-machine Alessandro Del Piero and midfield maestro Freddie Ljunjberg will showcase their prowess on the football field and entertain large enthusiastic crowds all over India.