ISL 2021-22 season will begin with the match between ATKMB and Kerala Blasters

Margao, Nov 18 (PTI) The 2021-22 season of the country’s top football competition, the Indian Super League (ISL), will begin with a match between defending champions ATK Mohun Bagan (ATKMB) and Kerala Blasters here on Friday.

Like the previous season, this time also due to the Kovid-19 epidemic, all the matches of the first phase of the league will be played at three venues in Goa. The matches of the first leg of the league, which will continue till January 9, will be played at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Margao, Tilak Maidan in Vasco and GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim.

However, a major change this season will be that all teams will have to go with at least seven Indian players. The number stood at six players since the league began in 2014.

With the increase in the number of local players, the talent of the country will get more opportunities, which can also affect the national team.

The maximum limit of four foreign players is as per Asian Football Confederation (AFC) club competition rules. Of these four players, one player must be from an AFC member country.

On the eve of the start of the new season, ATKMB coach Antonio Habas said his team would play its natural game.

“We have full respect for the opponent,” Habas said. This time there is a new coach and many new players with his team. So we don’t know much about his talent. We have to analyze the individual performance of their players.

On the other hand, Kerala Blasters FC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic will try to prevent history from repeating against this team. The team of Blasters have faced ATK Mohun Bagan twice and have lost both the times.

“We will mostly focus on ourselves on how we will play,” he said. Of course, during every game, you have moments where you have to attack and you have to defend. It doesn’t mean that only one team will do it.


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