ISL 2023-24: Odisha FC vs Kerala Blasters: Preview, Predicted lineup, injury news, H2H, telecast details
(Courtesy : ISL Media)
Kerala Blasters might see their new foreign recruit take the field in the ISL for the first time.
Odisha FC will host Kerala Blasters FC in an exciting clash set to bring the audience to the edge of their seats at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24. The current ISL season has thrown up many narratives, and one of the most remarkable of them has been the return of Sergio Lobera at the helm of the Juggernauts.
After successful stints at FC Goa and Mumbai City FC, the Spaniard didn’t shy away from undertaking a new challenge altogether at a club that seemed to have been perennially stuck in the middle of the table for the last few seasons.
Regardless of the good that has been done so far, Lobera fell short of catching hold of his first silverware with Odisha FC by losing the Kalinga Super Cup final to East Bengal FC at home. He was eager to make amends to that with a strong finish in the points table here, and the journey for the same starts with locking horns against one of the most profound teams of the league.
They will be keen to make the most of the home advantage too; having won their last four games in the stadium in the ISL, and three points in this encounter will see them create a record of this sort in the competition’s history. Furthermore, they are slowly working towards making this a bastion of theirs in the league, having been unbeaten in all seven ISL fixtures they have played in at the Kalinga Stadium under Lobera.
For starters, it is safe to say that Kerala Blasters FC have no issues finding their scoring boots against Odisha FC. They have found the back of the net eight consecutive times against the Juggernauts, which is their longest such active streak against any side in ISL over the past 9 seasons. Their attacking contingent can take a hit with the absence of Adrian Luna and Kwame Peprah due to injuries.
However, Dimitrios Diamantakos has therefore risen to the challenge and ensured that they do not face any concerns on the offensive front. Diamantakos has recorded the best differential between expected goals (3.3) and actuals goals scored (seven) in the ongoing Indian Super League season (+3.7 xG value). He has also recorded nine goal contributions this term, the most by any player in the competition (seven goals and two assists).
It will perhaps be a battle between the dynamism upfront presented by the Juggernauts against the defensive solidity of the Kerala Blasters FC. All these factors blend together to give rise to a game of numerous ups and downs, and the team that manages to hold their own until the end will walk away with the bragging rights.
Team and Injury News
Odisha FC have a fit contingent but will miss Mourtada Fall who was shown a red card in the Kalinga Super Cup final. Kerala Blasters will miss Kwame Peprah and Vibin Mohanan due to injuries.
Matches played – 22
Odisha FC wins – 8
Kerala Blasters FC wins – 7
Draws – 7
Amrinder Singh, Amey Ranawade, Carlos Delgado, Narender Gahlot, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Puitea, Ahmed Jahouh, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Cy Goddard, Isak Vanlalruatfela, Diego Mauricio
Sachin Suresh, Pritam Kotal, Milos Drincic, Marko Leskovic, Naocha Singh, Mohammed Azhar, Danish Farooq, Daisuke Sakai, Mohammed Aimen, Rahul KP, Dimitrios Diamantakos
Player to watch
Puitea (Odisha FC)
The midfielder has been a remarkable presence in the centre of the park for the Juggernauts. Puitea chips tremendously in both halves of the field. His tenacious defensive inputs add a shield that guards the Odisha FC’s defensive unit. At the same time, he interlinks the backline beautifully with their efficient forwards, notching a goal and an assist each in 917 minutes across 11 appearances this season.
He has recorded an 85% passing accuracy, created eight goal-scoring opportunities, made an average of 44 passes per game and also intercepted 12 times. Lobera has a history of improving the domestic players at his disposal tremendously in each club that he has worked with in the ISL. Puitea is one of the evident examples of the same in this campaign.
Danish Farooq (Kerala Blasters FC)
Danish Farooq has been one of the standout stars for Kerala Blasters FC in ISL 2023-24. He is a vital member of their midfield four, playing the ball to the flanks. He is not really a creative passer as such, but is excellent at spotting goal-scoring opportunities and making the most of them that he can at the given moment.
For instance, he has often been deployed as a decoy midfield runner, coming in to attack set pieces through his headers with the deliveries coming into the flank. Farooq has netted twice and assisted once in 11 games, creating five goal-scoring chances. He has made 12 interceptions and made five goal-scoring opportunities. He might have to keep close tabs on his bookings, having been shown five yellow cards already. Kerala Blasters FC cannot miss him at crucial junctures in the second half of the season.
Did you know?
- Roy Krishna (49) is only one strike away from completing 50 goals in ISL history.
- Odisha FC were unbeaten for 15 games until their Super Cup finale loss.
- Kerala Blasters are the current ISL table-toppers.
The Odisha FC vs Kerala Blasters game kicks off at 7:30 PM IST, at Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar on 2 February 2024. The live telecast of the fixture will be available on Sports18 Network (Sports18 1/VH1 Channel). Live streaming of the game will be available on the JioCinema app. Viewers from abroad can use OneFootball to stream the game.
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