The match might have finished 0-0, but there were some clear learning points for all of us to take on board from the rematch of the ISL 3 final between Kerala Blasters and ATK.
#1 The fans are loud
What an atmosphere the Kerala fans created at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. There wasn’t a great deal to get excited about in the match itself, but the wall of noise coming from the stands kept the viewing experience enjoyable. An idea for Kerala if they need to get the fans even more excited – get Sachin Tendulkar in a kit and warming up as if he is going to come on. Every time he spoke in the opening ceremony the decibel level got even higher.
#2 The Indians know how to do an opening ceremony
Granted, this was the first full opening ceremony I have watched since USA 94 and Diana Ross missing a penalty, but the opening night for ISL4 was incredible. The music, the dancing, the presenters whipping the crowd up into even more of a frenzy. It’s just a shame (and trust me, it happens in far bigger tournaments than the ISL eh, Sky Sports?) the football failed to live up to the buildup.
#3 Iain Hume will be doing a lot of running for Dimitar Berbatov this season
I would imagine Dimitar Berbatov is on a penny or two to be playing for Kerala Blasters. There is nothing wrong with that at all, but considering Iain Hume is likely to get through two or three times as much work over than him over the course of 90 minutes (or 60 in this case) I hope he is being pretty well paid too. Berbatov, like for most of his career, remained on the periphery of the match but weren’t treated to the moments of sheer genius that often accompanied the most languid of his English Premier League displays.
#4 Robin Singh was fibbing to Teddy Sheringham
The ATK gaffer Teddy Sheringham claimed he had spent the flight to Kochi next to the big Indian striker who had spent the whole flight telling him how good he was. I don’t think Teddy bought into it completely, as he benched the attacker and picked Njazi Kuqi in his place. When Singh did come on he didn’t exactly take the world alight.
#5 Njazi Kuqi is Shefki Kuqi’s brother
People of a certain age might well remember the former Sheffield Wednesday striker Shefki Kuqi and his somewhat famous goal celebration of a belly flop. The Finnish striker has a brother playing for ATK and he is also a big lad up top. Sadly though, he didn’t score so we didn’t get to see if the crazy celebrations were something they worked on in their back garden when kids.