Aaron Hughes
Hughes' presence will be a big boost for Kerala Blasters Reuters

Match: NorthEast United v Kerala Blasters

Date: 1 October, Saturday

Time: 9:30pm SGT/7pm IST/2:30pm BST

Venue: Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati

Competition: Indian Super League 2016

TV Coverage: There is no TV coverage of the 2016 ISL clash between NorthEast United and Kerala Blasters in Singapore.

Live Streaming: Hotstar


NorthEast United will host Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League 2016 opener at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on 1 October.

The hosts will look to open the campaign with a win in front of their home crowd on Saturday. Coached by Portuguese manager Nelo Vingada, NorthEast will be eyeing a good run in the 2016 tournament after missing out on semi-final berths in the last two seasons.

However, The Highlanders' run up to the tournament has been marred by injury concerns. Midfielder Fabio Neves will be released as the Brazilian has torn his ACL. Uruguayan striker Sasha Aneff is also facing a two-week lay-off due to broken rib.

NorthEast will also miss defender Salam Ranjan as he is yet to released by I-League franchise Bengaluru FC, who are involved in the 2016 AFC Cup semi-final matches against Malaysian giants Johor Darul Ta'zim.

However, the addition of Ivory Coast's most capped player Didier Zokora, is expected to provide strength to their midfield.

Vingada revealed he is motivated to take his side to the semi-final stages of the tournament and said he did not look too much into Saturday's opponents.

"I am confident because we have good Indian players and most of the foreigners have played in India before. I know Kerala was the runner-up in the first season but past is gone and the present is different. Our aim is to be better, that means we want to go to the playoffs," Vingada was quoted as saying by Goal.com.

On the other hand, the Blasters, who have had contrasting campaigns in their last two seasons - runners-up in 2014 and last-place finish in 2015 - will be looking for a consistent run this season under their new manager, former Manchester United winger Steve Coppell.

The Blasters will be boosted by the availability of their marquee player Aaron Hughes. The Northern Ireland international, who played a crucial part in leading his side to the knockout stages of the 2016 European Championship, will be a strong presence in their backline.

Frenchman Cedric Hengbart, who returns to the Kerala-based franchise's set-up after spending the 2015 season with their Saturday's opponents, will look to forge a key combination with Hughes.

However, the Blasters will also miss key players of the likes of CK Vineeth and Rino Anto, who are busy with their AFC Cup duties.

After having a solid pre-season in Thailand, Coppell's side would be eager to get their campaign off to a flyer in Guwahati.

TV Schedule

Bhutan: Star Sports 3 Asia

Bangladesh: Star Sports 3 Asia

India: Star Sports 3

UAE: Abu Dhabi Sports

Australia: Fox Sports 5 Australia

Team News

NorthEast United

Possible XI: Subrata Paul; Robin Gurung, Gustavo Lazzaretti, Mailson Alves, Nirmal Chhetri; Holicharan Narzary, Fanai Lalrempuia, Didier Zokora, Katsumi Yusa; Emiliano Alfaro, Nicolas Velez

Kerala Blasters

Possible XI: Graham Stack; Pratik Chaudhari, Aaron Hughes, Cedric Hengbart, Sandesh Jhingan; Vinit Rai, Mehtab Hussain, Josu Currais; Thongkhosiem Haokip, Antonio German, Mohammed Rafi