The Indian Super League’s first season came to a close on Saturday with Atletico de Kolkata beating Kerala Blasters 1-0 on a 94th minute goal.
Former Atletico Madrid and Liverpool striker Luis Garcia is among Atletico de Kolkata’s biggest names, but perhaps it was fitting that an Indian player, Mohammed Rafique, netted the first ever ISL-winning goal in Mumbai.
Kerala was led by its player-coach, former England keeper David James, who conceded the late goal and sent Kolkata into the history books as the first league champions.
James had recently criticized the league for a lack of infrastructure, but praised it potential. Kolkata is part-owned by Atletico Madrid.
Almost 37,000 people attended the final in Mumbai. From the BBC:
In front of a 36,484 crowd at the D.Y. Patil Stadium near Mumbai, India midfielder Rafique won the game in injury time when he rose to send a near-post header low into the corner past James.
The final ended a 10-week tournament which began in October with eight franchise teams and was designed to help promote football in India.
The history-making match paves the way for Season No. 2.