The Blasters dominated possession in both halves, but failed to create too many clear chances due to sloppiness in the final third. ATKMB were a constant threat on the break, and despite having little of the ball, created several opportunities, most of which fell to Krishna.
Last season's join top scorer Krishna came close twice in the first half, first fluffing his shot from a corner and then shooting high from an effort from outside the box. The goal in the second half actually came after some sloppy defending from the Blasters, who failed to clear a seemingly harmless cross from substitute Manvir Singh from the left.
Former Kerala Blasters defender Sandesh Jhingan, who made the move to ATK Mohun Bagan in the summer, made his first start for his new club and a had a solid game as part of a back three. For Kerala coach Kibu Vicuna, who led Mohun Bagan to an I-League title last season before their merger with ATK, it would have been a bitter loss to swallow, having seen his side failing to get a single shot on target despite enjoying 68% possession.
Midfielder Sahal Abdul Samad had a lively game and was at the heart of of most of Kerala's forward play, but like most of his teammates, his touch was a bit rusty in key moments. Kerala's best chance fell to Sahal in the second half, following a cross from Carneiro, but the former failed to hit the target. New signing Gary Hooper was also involved in some of Kerala's most promising build-ups, but the striker rarely had a clear sight of goal.
Meanwhile, ATKMB's title-winning coach Antonio Habas would be pleased to see his new-look to defence keep a clean sheet in the opening game, and more importantly, to see his top scorer get off the mark despite the absence of last season's strike partner David Williams.
Kerala next face NorthEast United on November 26, while ATKMB's next outing is the all-important derby against East Bengal on November 27.
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