A first half brace by Bartholomew Ogbeche lead Kerala Blasters to a 2-1 win against ATK in front of over 36,000 supporters on Sunday at the JLN Stadium in Kochi in the first game of the 2019-20 Indian Super League season.
An incredible goal by Carl McHugh in the sixth minute handed ATK the lead but Ogbeche scored twice (30', 45') in the first half to ensure that the Blasters claimed their first three points of the season.
Sahal Abdul Samad and new signing Rahul KP were on the bench for Kerala Blasters. In Sandesh Jhingan's absence, Brazilian Jairo Rodriguez partnered Gianni Zuiverloon in defence.
For ATK, former A-League striker Roy Krishna made his ISL debut. Soosairaj and Prabir Das operated as wingbacks in a system that had three defenders at the back.
It took just six minutes for the visitors to stun the home crowd into silence. A foul by Jeakson near the centre allowed Javier Hernandez to cross the ball into the box. Agustin Garcia headed it into the path of ATK's Carl McHugh whose stunning volley went in, leaving Kerala goalkeeper Bilal clueless in just the sixth minute of the game.
Blasters got back into the match on the half hour mark courtesy of a penalty from Ogbeche. Pronay Halder pulled Jairo's shirt inside the box just as the defender was setting up a shot. It was a soft decision by the referee but Ogbeche made the most of the chance.
The equalising goal worked wonders for the Blasters who then scored the winning goal of the game just before half-time. Cidoncha flicked Prasanth's cross into the box and Ogbeche dispatched it from the centre of the box following Pronay Halder's failed clearance.
FT: @keralablasters 2 - 1 @ATKFC— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) October 20, 2019
Bartholomew Ogbeche's brace inspires @ESchattorie's side to a sensational victory in the #HeroISL 2019-20 season opener! 👌#KERKOL #LetsFootball #TrueLove pic.twitter.com/oyufW5JUa6
After an action packed first half, the second half also saw Blasters in the ascendency with ATK threatening at regular intervals but neither teams added to their tally which meant that the Yellow Brigade took all three points in what was a great start to their ISL season.