KOCHI: Mohammad Rafique’s header in the dying minutes helped Atletico De Kolkata edge past Kerala Blasters FC 1-0 and lift the inaugural Indian Super League title at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday. With both teams pulling out one of their best performances in the entire season, the summit clash provided a befitting finale to the much-celebrated league in India.
While the Blasters dominated the match for the most part, they had to pay the price for the wastefulness of their strikers, especially former Newcastle striker Michael Chopra. Ten minutes before the stoppage time, Chopra struck a right-footed shot into an open goal, but found himself parried by Kolkata custodian Apoula Edel.
Just when it looked like the match would enter into extra time, substitute Mohammad Rafique, who was later declared the Hero of the Final, headed home the stoppage-time winner off Jakub Podany from the corner.Champions Kolkata walked away with a prize money of `8 crore, while runners-up Blasters settled for `4 crore.
One of the most consistent players of the Blasters, Sandesh Jhingan, was adjudged the Emerging Player of the League, while Canadian striker Iain Hume became the Hero of the League. With eight goals Chennayin FC’s Elano Blumer won the Golden Boot.