Football: ATK and Kerala Blasters emerge winners from first leg play-offs
The weekend saw the Indian Super League at its best with a flurry of goals. The end of the season is almost here with just 3 games to go. As usual Atletico de Kolkata has managed to make it to the play-offs. The consistency of ATK throughout all 3 seasons has been something every single team in the ISL strives for.
Yet again NEUFC lose out as they just lose out the second year in a row. Pune City and Northeast have been lacking in previous seasons and although this season, it seemed like the Northeast side would cement their place in the play-offs, that did not happen.
As the four remaining teams battle it out with each of the first legs of the semi-finals done, ATK and Kerala Blasters have the upper hand. Mumbai City who lost to ATK in a match that saw 5 goals can still make up the deficit as they play the next leg home. Mumbai have been a different team this season and have been the most solid team defensively. Moments of brilliance from Diego Forlan has also made the team look even more inspiring.
Kerala won the first leg with a goal courtesy Kervens Belfort against Delhi Dynamos. Looking back on the entire season, Delhi has looked the most well balanced team. They have been extremely free scoring and the goals kept coming. Kerala however struggled at times during the season but there is a rejuvenation in the team. They seem determined and their ever backing fans who always fill the entire stadium are loving every moment of it.
It is difficult to say who will lift the title this season and one cannot count out any of the 4. With just six days left for the final, football in India has seen a number of new fans. The most encouraging aspect is the number of Indian players who have performed extremely well. Although the number of Indian goal scorers is still very low, however, there is great improvement in the quality of football we are watching. Let's hope that once the ISL is over, fans still tune in to watch the I-League and support their local clubs and teams.