The ninth edition of the Kerala Premier League kicked off on January 7 at the Maharaja’s College Ground in Kochi. This season will feature a whopping 22 teams who will be divided into two groups.
Group A: Sports Academy Tirur, Altius IFA, FC Areekode, Basco Othukungal FC, FC Kerala, Gokulam Kerala FC, Kerala Police, Luca Soccer Club, Parappur FC, Wayanad United FC, Real Malabar FC.
Group B: Muthoot FA, Kerala United FC, KSEB, Don Bosco FA, Golden Threads FC, Kerala Blasters FC, LiFFA Trivandrum, Mar Athanasius FA, SAI, Travancore Royals FC, Kovalam FC.
After the group stage is complete, the top two teams from each group go into the semi-finals. The semi-finals will be a one-legged affair and will lead into the finals where the winner is awarded the Kerala Premier League title.
Each team is allowed a maximum of three foreigners out of which one of them has to be from a SAARC nation. Group A matches are being played at the EMS Stadium in Kozhikode while the venue for Group B matches is the Maharaja’s College Ground in Ernakulam.
Kerala United FC and KSEB share the spoils
Date and Venue: Group B, 7 January 2022, Maharaja’s College, Ernakulam
FULL TIME: Kerala United FC 1 – 1 KSEB
Bino George’s Kerala United FC and last year’s KPL finalists KSEB played out a draw in the season opener. Former Gokulam Kerala and Kerala Blasters midfielder Arjun Jayaraj opened the scoring for the Hornbills in the 59th minute. However, Viknesh M scored the equaliser for KSEB in the 72nd minute as the teams shared a point apiece.
Sports Academy Tirur elbow past Real Malabar FC
Date and Venue: Group A, 8 January, 22, EMS Stadium, Kozhikode
FULL TIME: Real Malabar FC 0 – 7 Sports Academy Tirur .
Arshad and Ananthu Murali score braces while skipper Faslu Rahman capped off with the seventh goal in the 89th minute as SAT Tirur thrashed Real Malabar FC seven to nothing. Guy Beleck and Toure were the other goalscorers.
FC Areekode and Altius IFA play out a score draw
Date and Venue: Group A, 9 January 2022, EMS Stadium, Kozhikode.
FULL TIME: Altius IFA 2–2 FC Areekode
Hashif scored the opening goal for AIFA in the 20th minute, but FC Areekode found the equaliser towards the end of the first half through Beckham. In the added minutes of the first half, AIFA took the lead thanks to Nepolian’s goal.
In the dying minutes of the second half, FC Areekode pulled back with a goal through Ruban to level the scores as the game ended in a draw.
Muthoot FA defeat Kovalam FC
Date and Venue: Group B, 9 January 2022, Maharaja’s College, Ernakulam.
FULL TIME: Kovalam FC 1–3 Muthoot FA
Abin scored in the starting minutes of the second half to put Kovalam FC ahead but seven minutes later, Muthoot equalised via Piyush’s goal. Muthoot FA scored two more goals in the last ten minutes of the second half to snatch the win from the home side. Former Chennaiyin FC, Indian Arrows and GKFC player Ajin Tom was among the goalscorers.
It’s worth mentioning that most of Kovalam FC’s players come from the coastal area (Kovalam Beach) where the club is based out of and they have no foreigners in the squad. As many as 32 foreign players are playing in this season’ KPL.
After the end of Week 1, this is what the table looks like
|1||Sports Academy Tirur||1||1||0||0||3||7||0||7|
|6||Gokulam Kerala FC|
|10||Wayanad United FC|
|11||Real Malabar FC||1||0||0||1||0||0||7||-7|
|2||Kerala United FC||1||0||1||0||1||1||1||0|
|4||Don Bosco FA|
|5||Golden Threads FC|
|6||Kerala Blasters FC|
|8||Mar Athanasius FA|
|10||Travancore Royals FC|
The next set of matches begin on January 14 2022.