The Indian Super League action returns in the last week of the year with some tongue-licking action. Just tuck in your blankets and follow the coverage on Khel Now. 

After some shocking results in the previous week, the Indian Super League will be moving in the next round, which will start with Jamshedpur FC taking on South Indian club Chennaiyin FC on Thursday, followed by the Metro city derby between Mumbai City FC and Delhi Dynamos FC next day. Saturday will witness the energetic FC Pune City host NorthEast United at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, while the super weekend will boost up with a clash between the two times former I-League champions, Bengaluru FC and the two-time ISL finalist Kerala Blasters FC in the newly introduced South Indian Derby.

The last round started with a 2-0 victory for the Islanders over the Highlanders. It also brought some surprising results in the ISL for Bengaluru FC and FC Goa as the Blues were stunned by debutants Jamshedpur FC, while high-flying Gaurs were grounded by the Stallions. However, it brought nothing new for Delhi Dynamos as they continued their miserable form, going down to ATK, which was their straight fifth defeat in the league.   

Jamshedpur FC vs Chennaiyin FC

Date & Venue: 28th December/ JRD TATA Sports Complex, Jamshedpur.

Time & Broadcast: 08:00 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar.

It will be the clash between two English coaches, with Crawley Town FC a commonality between the two coaches of England’s tier two side. Chennaiyin are at the top of the league following their dramatic draw against Kerala in the previous match, whereas Jamshedpur are struggling in the middle with nine points from six matches. However, the only bright point for the newly entrant side was their narrow win over Bengaluru.

Though Jamshedpur will play for the first time against former ISL champions, they will be looking for all the three points to raise them from the bottom half of the table, whereas the south Indian club will also be looking for a win to continue the positive momentum. As promised earlier, Steve Coppell has been using attacking formations such as the 5-3-2 and 4-1-3-2 this season.

Much like him, John Gregory has also been deploying attacking gameplay, putting Dhanapal Ganesh in front of the backline. A sublime tackler, Ganesh will be the player to reckon with while Chennaiyin also have to take extra measures to stop Trindade Goncalves in his tracks.

Mumbai City FC vs Delhi Dynamos FC

FC Goa ran amok against Delhi Dynamos in the national capital

Date & Venue: 29th December/ Mumbai Football Arena, Mumbai.

Time & Broadcast: 08:00 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar.

Delhi gaffer Miguel Portugal will be under tremendous pressure when they will take on Mumbai in the Metro derby as the capital side have lost their last five games and are at the bottom of the table with just three points, thanks to a win over Pune in the opening match. On the other hand, Mumbai coach Alexandre Guimaraes has experienced mixed results this term, winning and losing three each, and sit at the middle of the table with 10 points from seven matches.

This will be the seventh time both sides face each other and the Islanders have a slight upper hand as compared to Delhi. Head-to-head, they have defeated Delhi on a couple of occasions, whereas the Capital city side have managed to defeat them only once, in the first season. The rest three matches ended in draws, while both teams share equal 16 goals between them.

Delhi is expected to display a counter-attacking gameplay, making Romeo Fernandes their ace on the wings. Mumbai, on the other hand, will be relying heavily on Balwant Singh and is expected to play some variant of 4-4-1-1 to seal the match quickly.

FC Pune City vs NorthEast United

FC Pune City handed FC Goa their first defeat on home soil

Date & Venue: 30th December/ Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Pune.

Time & Broadcast: 08:00 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar.

Pune have had a rollercoaster season so far and have suffered a defeat after every victory. However, they have managed to be in the top four positions after the end of the last round match having defeated confident Goa with an ease. Serbian coach Ranko Popovic, who has been rotating the squad from the start, will be hoping to see his side give the best and come out with all three points to climb up the table.

The Highlanders had high hopes on coach Joao de Deus after failures in the last three seasons, struggling to finish in the top half. The Portuguese coach, too, has failed to deliver as NortEast are at the bottom half of the table with just a win and a draw. With the absence of a goal getter amidst themselves, NorthEast is expected to pin their hopes on possession football. They will also be depending heavily on the performances of Marcinho and Luis Alfonso to get them back to the winning ways.

Though Pune are the better side this season, the north-eastern club of India defeated the Stallions on both occasions last season and also hold the advantage over the western Indian club in head-to-head as they have downed Pune three times compared to Pune’s two, whereas the only one match failed to break the deadlock in the first season. Pune’s Serbian gaffer has preferred to use the 4-2-3-1 multiple times this season and is expected to line his side up in the same manner.  


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Kerala Blasters FC vs Bengaluru FC

The Blues faced a disappointing visit from Jamshedpur in the last game week

Date & Venue: 31st December/ Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kerala.

Time & Broadcast: 05:30 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar.

This match is arguably the most awaited clash of the ISL in South India as both sides’ fans have already hurled ‘pleasantries’ at each other and it will be interesting to see who will get a chance to make the last laugh in the first match. Bengaluru FC coach Albert Roca has been with the team from last season and knows his team better than any other coaches in the league.

The former Barcelona assistant had a wonderful start to the season but went down to Chennaiyin and Jamshedpur in the last two but his team still stand third with 12 points from seven encounters. Roca is expected to depend heavily on Edu Garcia and Dimas Delgado to supply Chhetri upfront, who has the ability to change the flow of the match anytime.

Like in the second season, Kerala once again failed to make the mark having won only one match with three consecutive draws in the league, with the third lowest points. Though the two times finalist club has big names like Wes Brown, Dimitar Berbatov and Iain Hume, Dutch coach Rene Meulensteen has failed to find the winning combination for Kerala. For this, the Kerala gaffer is expected to put his money on Indian duo CK Vineeth and Sandesh Jhingan to change the flow of the game.   

Though this will be the first time when both the sides will play each other, the clash will surely make history in future.