The visitors have been marred by injuries and would look to gain at least a point against the defending champions.
With the international break coming to a close, league duties resume with a thrilling encounter, as Bengaluru FC host Kerala Blasters in one of the most-anticipated games of the season. Bengaluru, who went into the break with a commanding victory over southern rivals Chennaiyin FC, are now set to face another neighbour in Kerala Blasters, as they look to get back in contention for the top spot.
Kerala Blasters, on the other hand, would look to get back to winning ways and put an end to a run of disappointing results in the last three games.
Bengaluru FC put an end to their winless run at the start of the campaign, with a brilliant performance against Chennaiyin FC and went into the international break a rejuvenated side. Bengaluru coach Carles Cuadrat would look to pick up from where they left off and grab three points against an under-performing Kerala Blasters side.
Kerala Blasters started off on a winning note in their opener against ATK, sending the supporters into a frenzy. But, their performances in the games that followed have been a major concern. Eelco Schattorie’s team have been plagued by injuries right from the start of the season. However, with Bartholomew Ogbeche and Sahal Abdul Samad showing signs of hope, a win is a must to instil confidence in the side and among the supporters.
Carles Cuadrat has six players from his starting lineup returning from national stints and would hope they have been well-rested. Bengaluru FC’s previous game saw the return of Erik Paartalu from injury. However, Spaniards Alberto Serran and Manuel Onwu weren’t fit to play.
Bengaluru are likely to continue missing the services of Serran, while Onwu will mostly start from the bench.
Kerala Blasters FC
Eelco Schattorie’s side have a long list of concerns when it comes to injuries, with the tactician’s preferred centre-halves both now injured. Jairo Rodrigues and Raphael Messi were forced out due to injury in their match against Odisha FC. Infact, the club have announced that the former is expected to face a long layoff.
The clash between both these sides has been one of the most-anticipated and thrilling ever since Bengaluru’s entry into the competition.
Bengaluru have established clear dominance over rivals Kerala Blasters and have dropped points only on one occasion. Kerala Blasters would look to end this dominance and grab their first victory against the Blues.
Man to Watch
Raphael Augusto (Bengaluru FC)
Raphael Augusto has had a brilliant start to the season and has very quickly won over the fans at Bengaluru FC. He has put up some brilliant performances and has managed to link-up well with the attackers. Augusto has been a revelation ever since he has donned the Bengaluru FC colours. He could prove to be the game-changer against Kerala Blasters.
Sahal Abdul Samad (Kerala Blasters)
The youngster has a lot riding on him in the build-up to this game. He will look to showcase his brilliance to overpower the Bengaluru FC defence. Sahal has time and again dropped some great moves on the field, so much so that the opposition captain is also a fan of his play.
Sandhu; Nishu, Juanan, Bheke, Harmanjot; Paartalu, Dimas, Augusto; Udanta, Chhetri (C), Ashique.
Rehenesh; Rakip, Gaikwad, Abdul, Jessel; Moustapha, Cidoncha, Sahal, Rahul, Prasanth; Ogbeche.
Did You Know?
- Kerala Blasters have faced Bengaluru four times and have never managed to win even one game.
- Bengaluru have always managed to score two or more goals against Kerala in each of their four meetings.
- Chhetri has scored thrice against Kerala Blasters and has failed to do so in just one game.
The match will be telecast live on the Star Sports Network from 7:30 PM IST on Saturday. It will also be streamed live on Hotstar and Jio TV