Sports Desk, Amar Ujala, Bambolim (Goa)
Updated Fri, 20 Nov 2020 6:45 AM IST
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- Inaugural match will be played between defending champions ATK Mohun Bagan and Kerala Blasters
- Only one city without spectators, three stadiums in Goa, GMC Stadium Benbolim
- The tournament, which runs from November to March, will be played in two phases
- Sporting club East Bengal teams will play in tournament for the first time
This match is expected to be quite exciting. ATK Mohun Bagan will start this franchise-based tournament as a strong contender for the title. The team has contracted a few tier players like India’s star defender Sandesh Jhingan (captain). The key players of last year’s champion team ATK have also been retained, including Roy Krishna of Fiji.
Roy scored 15 goals
Roy was the combined top goal scorer of the previous season with 15 goals in 21 matches. He also assisted the team in scoring six goals. Roy played the captaincy in the final and ATK’s team was successful in winning the third ISL title. Apart from Roy, coach Antonio Habas has selected Spain midfielder Edu Garcia, India’s Pritam Kotal, Arindam Bhattacharya and Jhingan as captain.
The first big match of the season will be held on 27th
The first biggest match of the season will be played on 27 November at Fatorda between ATK Mohun Bagan and SC East Bengal. In this, two traditional rival teams will start their 100-year-old rivalry in a new avatar. This will be the first match between club ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengal formed after the merger of last year’s ISL winner ATK and ILIG team Mohun Bagan.
Goa will face a shortage of Ferran and Bomas
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 forwards Ferran Corominas and Hugo Bomas. These two have been included in the list of most goalscorers in the ISL over the years.
Chhetri and Sandhu’s Bangalore also contenders
Former champions Bangalore FC, playing under the guidance of Colors Cuadrate in the presence of top Indian and tested foreign players, are also among the contenders for the title. The Cuadrates have been successful in keeping many of the 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.
Mumbai is no less
Mumbai City FC will also look to at least make it to the playoffs. The team will benefit from the presence of head coach Sergio Lobera, who is associated with the team except FC Goa. Goa, led by Lobera, made it to the finals of the 2018-19 season. Sporting club East Bengal and two-time champions Chennaiyin FC, who are going to play under the guidance of Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler, are also expected to perform well.