Kolkata: Defending champions Atletico de Kolkata will take on last year’s runners-up Kerala Blasters FC in the opening match of the Indian Super League at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on November 17, 2017.
The match will also see two big names of European football- Dimitar Berbatov (KBFC) and Robbie Keane (ATK), the marquee signings of both the clubs playing against each other bringing reminiscence of long European nights in Indian football.
The ISL this year will see 10 teams taking part for the coveted trophy, with I-League club Bengaluru FC and Jamshedpur FC being the two new franchises in the tournament. However, unlike previous seasons, the maximum number of foreign players in a playing XI has been reduced to five from this season onwards which prompted the club owners to invest heavily on young Indian prospects.
A total of 95 matches will be played this season announced the Football Sports Development Ltd. (a joint venture between IMG, Reliance Industries and Star India) according to press release. The group stage will involve 90 matches played by the 10 teams in a home-and-way format followed by the two-legged semi-finals in the second week of March. The date and venue for the final has not been confirmed as yet.
Moreover, all the matches of the group stage will be played from Wednesday to Saturday and will kick off at 8 p.m. IST. Sunday will feature the double headers starting at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. IST.
2015 Champions Chennaiyin FC will kick off their campaign against FC Goa in the JNU stadium in the first match on October 19. The other match of the day will see Sunil Chhetri led Bengaluru FC play their first home match against Mumbai City FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.
The season’s first Maharashtra derby between FC Pune City and Mumbai City FC will be played at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium in Pune on November 29. Newly formed franchise Jamshedpur FC will take on NorthEast United in their debut match in the ISL on November 18.