Kerala hearts were broken by Atletico de Kolkata for the second time in three years, as Jose Molina mashalled his troops to lift the Indian Super League trophy in Kochi on Sunday.

The Blasters might think they had a bit of disadvantage coming into the final, as they had 24 hours less to prepare. Their playoff second leg against Delhi Dynamos went into extra-time, which could have been a reason that the players seemed to limp to the finish line in the final, battered and bruised. Both sides started positively and created chances, but Molina and Coppell were more focused on not conceding.

The first 35 minutes were fast-paced and provided plenty of entertainment, with Kolkata’s marquee man Helder Postiga missing 3 wonderful chances to put the visitors in front. The breakthrough came in the 37th minute, when Mohammad Rafi headed in beautifully into the far post, giving Debjit no chance whatsoever. The crowd went crazy, and Kerala players seemed to have forgotten that they were supposed to be tired. For the next 7 minutes, the home side were in complete control of the game, and it looked like they would score again.

Kerala Blasters FC defender Cedric Hengbart (R) vies for the ball with Atletico de Kolkata defender Henrique Fonseca Sereno (L) during the final Indian Super League (ISL) football match between Kerala Blasters FC and Atletico de Kolkata at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on December 18, 2016.   ----IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE----- / AFP / SAJJAD HUSSAIN        (Photo credit should read SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Kerala Blasters FC defender Cedric Hengbart (R) vies for the ball with Atletico de Kolkata defender Henrique Fonseca Sereno (L) during the final Indian Super League (ISL) football match between Kerala Blasters FC and Atletico de Kolkata at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on December 18, 2016. (SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)

However, in the 44th minute, Sameegh Doutie floated in an outswinging corner, and Soreno somehow got the better of Jhingan. The Portuguese equalised with his head, much to the despair of the Kochi faithful. It was perfectly poised for a mouth-watering second half. The moment the referee blew for the restart, both the sides were adamant on protecting their goal rather than pushing men forward. As a result, the second half was a cagey affair. Towards the end of the 90 minutes, the humidity and intensity was getting the better of the players. It finished 1-1 in normal time.

The 30 minutes of extra-time were of similar nature to the second half, with neither side really taking the game by the scruff of the neck. Both ATK and Kerala were happy to settle for penalties. As 56,000 fans in the stadium held their breath, Antonio German stepped up to take the first kick. The first penalty in any shootout is always crucial, and German didn’t disappoint .

Iain Hume, ISL’S all time top scorer with 23 goals, stepped up to take ATK’S first kick. Hume stuttered and Stack guessed it right. Hume’s penalty was saved, and the crowd erupted in delight. The next two penalties from Belfort and Doutie both went in. And then came the turning point. Ndoye stepped up, only to fire over the crossbar. The pendulum had shifted, Borja made no mistake in scoring his spotkick, and that left Kerala’s skipper Cedric Hengbart with a pressure penalty. Henbart‘s penalty was saved, and that meant Jewel Raja had a chance to crown ATK champions for the second time, Raja, calm and composed, side-footed into the net and ATK were crowned champions.