The verdict has come. Eight team, 60 matches, two months of football was finally put to rest with Atletico De Kolkata came out on top against all odds, winning their second ISL 2016 winner title. More than 50,000 people in the stadium, most of which were screaming for their opposition wearing yellow jerseys supporting Kerala Blasters. Both the teams have been headstrong and faced each other in the first season of ISL way back in 2014. They have pushed themselves forward with utter determination and performed to their optimum level in the final match played on December 18th.
The match eventually came down to football’s most pleasing sight to watch after the score of 1-1 went to extra time to the shootout. First time ever in the history of ISL finals, to decide who would bear the crown this time. The penalties were neck to neck where ATK managed to come back after being one goal down when Stack saved Iain Hume’s shot. After which they didn’t have to endure the pain of it and emerged victorious 4-3 lifting their second title.
The finalists had put up a great show in the semis where they overpowered Mumbai City FC and Delhi Dynamos both of whom had a better reputation in the league stage. While ATK managed to thrash Mumbai 3-2, Kerala drew 2-2 with Delhi and won 3-0 on penalties in the semis of the most coveted football league in the country. On the other hand, the successful grand finale witnessed some amazing feats, one of which being two iconic cricket stars Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly cheering for their respective teams. Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan along with ISL Chairperson Nita Ambani and All India Football Federation President Praful Patel added to the fireworks galore for the mega crowd.
ATK’s Borja Fernandez was named the ‘Fittest Player of the League’. NorthEast United FC won the award for the ‘Best Pitch’, while Chennaiyin FC picked up the ‘Fair Play Award’. The ATK’s South African winger Sameehg Doutie got the ‘Winning Pass of the League’ award for his contribution to the team in the tournament. Mumbai City FC’s goalkeeper Amrinder Singh won the ‘Golden Glove’ award while Chennaiyin FC’s 18-year-old Jerry Lalrinzuala was chosen as the ‘Emerging Player of the League’ award.
It was a great season to build on for all the teams. On the contrary, Kolkata will be looked upon for some footballing inspiration. ISL was a good home to controversies, some amazing display of talent and the game of football at its best. That was all from the ISL 2016 finale. We hope this sports event will come back next year with a louder bang and more exciting players to look to.