This will be the ninth meeting between the clubs in the league’s history.
Bengaluru FC are set to lock horns with Kerala Blasters in Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22, at the GMC Athletic Stadium on Sunday, November 28. While the Blues have had a win and a loss so far, the Yellow Army are yet to register their first victory of the season. Both teams failed to clinch three points from their most recent games, which is why they would be keen to win on Sunday.
The Blues’ 1-3 loss to Odisha FC was a rather disappointing result, considering their season opener where they beat NorthEast United 4-2. While they initially came back to score an equalizer through Alan Costa’s header, two spectacular second-half goals meant a victory for Odisha. Nonetheless, they displayed a slightly better attacking performance statistics-wise. 22-year-old Naorem Roshan Singh excelled in set-pieces and registered an assist from one of them for Costa’s goal.
Roshan’s combination alongside Udanta Singh upfront also looked promising with the latter showing signs of resilience. However, the Blues felt Cleiton Silva’s absence until the 57th minute. Without the Brazilian, they struggled to create chances. And therefore, just as speculated, picking the right mix of players in attack will be Marco Pezzaiuoli’s toughest challenge till now.
Either way, the 53-year-old tactician will look forward to regroup with a positive result against the Yellow Army on Sunday.
Similar to the Blues, the Yellow Army haven’t had ideal results so far either. While they lost 2-4 against ATK Mohun Bagan, they drew 0-0 against Khalid Jamil’s Northeast United in the previous game. Ivan Vukomanovic’s men displayed a mature performance in the second half against the Mariners. However, Kerala Blasters rued several big chances against NorthEast United to earn full points, and have to blame largely themselves for some unfortunate finishing.
Nonetheless, their defensive line – specifically debutants Vincy Baretto and Enes Sipovic displayed commendable performance. Baretto was excellent on the right-wing from where he created several chances for his side and was a constant threat up front and an able replacement for Rahul KP, who has been ruled out for at least four weeks. It was a major improvement from their season opener against ATK Mohun Bagan and they would look to build on that performance against Bengaluru FC.
Bengaluru FC will be missing out on Leon Augustine and Jayesh Rane — who has been ruled out for injuries. Meanwhile, Rahul KP will be the only absentee for Kerala Blasters, who have a fully-fit squad otherwise.
Head to Head
This will be the ninth meeting between Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters in the ISL. Out of the eight matches played so far, Bengaluru FC have registered five wins over their southern league rivals. Meanwhile, Kerala Blasters have won only twice against the Blues. In the last two seasons, both teams have had two wins and as many losses each.
Bengaluru FC (4-3-3): Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK), Ashique Kuruniyan, Yrondu Musavu-King, Alan Costa, Naorem Roshan Singh, Suresh Wangjam, Bruno Ramires, Jayesh Rane, Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh, Cleiton Silva,
Kerala Blasters (4-4-2): Albino Gomes (GK), Jessel Carneiro, Enes Sipovic, Marko Leskovic, Harmanjot Khabra, Sahal Abdul Samad, Jeakson Singh, Ayush Adhikari, Vincy Baretto, Jorge Pereyra Diaz, Adrian Luna,
Man to Watch
Udanta Singh (Bengaluru FC)
Some might consider it too early to judge. However, the 25-year-old has looked extremely different under Marco Pezzaiuoli. He registered an assist in the first game itself – for Cleiton Silva’s opener. His link-up play with Cleiton and his confidence on the ball has also been brilliant. Alhough the Brazilian didn’t start the last game, it is highly likely that he will be included in the starting XI against Kerala Blasters. Alongside Naorem Roshan Singh, the Blues’ right flank seems strong. Therefore, good synergy among Udanta, Cleiton and Roshan could mean wonders for Bengaluru.
Adrian Luna (Kerala Blasters)
Luna is one of the best attacking threats for the Yellow Army. In both the games so far, the Uruguayan created the most number of chances. While he provided an assist in the first game, he would have had one in the second match as well – if not for Jorge Pereyra Diaz’s off-target header. Regardless, he’s been a great signing and has proven his worth already. So once again, keep an eye on the 29-year-old.
Did You Know?
- 26 goals have been scored between the two sides in their eight games played against each other.
- With five goals, Sunil Chhetri is the highest scorer of all-time in this fixture.
- Out of the 26 scored, nine goals came from the 2020-21 season alone – the highest among all seasons, with the first fixture’s 4-2 also being the biggest scoreline between the two teams.
The match between Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters is scheduled for a 7:30 PM kick-off. The action will be available on the Star Sports Network and will be live-streamed on Disney+Hotstar and Jio TV.