ISL 2023-24: Kerala Blasters host resurgent NorthEast United
Yash Pratap Singh
Kerala Blasters have won the last three meetings between these two sides
The Indian Super League’s caravan returns to Kochi after a 12-day halt due to the international break. Kerala Blasters FC will play host to NorthEast United FC at the JLN Stadium in Kochi in the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday.
The Blasters will play their third home game of the season while the Highlanders will play their second away game of the season. On that note, let us take a look at how things stand going into this game.
Kerala Blasters FC
After a dream start to their 2023-24 ISL campaign where they won two out of two games, Kerala Blasters were handed a demoralising 2-1 defeat by Mumbai City FC. The Blasters not only lost the game but have also gotten themselves in big trouble.
They will host the Highlanders with an injury and suspension-hit squad come Saturday. But, nonetheless, they still find themselves comfortable sitting in the top four.
NorthEast United FC
The Stakes are very high for NorthEast United going into this game. They have had a good start to their season in comparison to the last couple of seasons. But, whether or not they can build upon it remains to be seen.
The away clash against the Blasters will be a litmus test for Juan Pedro Benali and his side. They come into the games on the back of a well-deserved rest and a 1-1 draw against Punjab FC in their last game.
Team and Injury News
Not everything is well at Kerala Blasters right now. The Blasters will miss Jeakson Singh and Aiban Dohling due to injuries while Milos Drincic has been handed a three-game ban by the AIFF. Marko Leskovic is also doubtful for the game.
NorthEast United FC on the other hand will miss the services of Manvir Singh who is out due to an injury.
Kerala Blasters have faced NorthEast United 18 times over the last nine seasons. The Blasters have a better record having won 8 games. NorthEast United have won only four games while six games have ended in a draw.
Kerala Blasters FC (4-2-3-1)
Sachin Suresh (GK), Prabir Das, Hormipam Ruivah, Pritam Kotal, Sandeep Singh, Freddy, Danish Farooq, Mohammed Aimen, Adrian Luna, Daisuke Sakai, Kwame Peprah
NorthEast United FC (4-3-3)
Mirshad Michu (GK), Dinesh Singh, Michel Zobaco, Asheer Akhtar, Tondonba Singh, Ali Bemmamer, Romain Philippoteaux, Phalguni Singh, Nestor Albiach, Manvir Singh, Parthib Gogoi
Players to watch out
Adrian Luna (Kerala Blasters)
Adrian Luna has led Kerala Blasters from the front. The Uruguayan maestro has played an influential role in his side’s dream start to the season. Luna controls the tempo of the game for the Kochi-based side and has a great game-reading skill.
He has already scored two winning goals for his side in three matches. Luna will have a huge responsibility to make sure the Blasters execute their plans to perfection against NorthEast United.
Parthib Gogoi (NorthEast United FC)
The star boy from Assam has set the league on fire with his heroics on the pitch. He has already become NorthEast United’s poster boy and has recently signed a new deal with the Highlanders until 2027.
Gogoi has been in great touch ever since his arrival at NorthEast United. This season, he has scored three out-of-the-world goals in as many matches. Parthib will be keen to score this fourth goal come Saturday.
Did You Know?
- NorthEast United have never won a game against Kerala Blasters at Kochi
- Ever since his debut, no player has scored more goals from outside the box than NorthEast United’s Parthib Gogoi (5)
- Kerala Blasters completed a league double over NorthEast United last season
The kick-off for the Kerala Blasters vs Northeast United FC game is at 8:00 PM IST. The match will be played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi. The live broadcast and live streaming of the game will be available on the Sports18 Network (Sports18 1 Channel/VH1 Channel) and JioCinema app, respectively. Viewers from abroad can tune into OneFootball for exclusive streaming.