The two teams face off on the back of contrasting fortunes…
Kerala Blasters host FC Goa in the Indian Super League on Tuesday with both sides needing a win to remain in the mix for the playoffs.
Blasters in their previous game lost away to Delhi Dynamos on a smog affected night in the capital. On the night Delhi were the better team and Kerala’s low scoring nature came back to bite them as they slipped to seventh on goal difference after Pune’s win on Sunday.
FC Goa on the other hand last played on Thursday of last week against Pune, a game where they eventually ran out 1-0 winners thanks to a superb Rafael Coelho free-kick. The win gave FC Goa a huge boost in confidence and they will have momentum on their side coming into this crucial fixture at the bottom of the league.
The visitors, FC Goa finished their game in Pune with no new injuries but the already existing ones like Lucio and Julio Cesar continue to remain a doubt. In their last game, Reinaldo was Goa’s only non-defensive option on the bench. The five days’ rest therefore should have been crucial to the side’s fitness and preparation.
Kerala Blasters will be without captain and marquee player Aaron Hughes again, this time through international duty. He has departed for Northern Ireland during the international break despite having a slight thigh strain. They should have a full complement of players available otherwise.
Head to Head
In the reverse fixture this season, Kerala Blasters had run out as 2-1 winners after a second half comeback saw Julio Cesar’s first half goal for Goa come to no avail. Overall, FC Goa have been the more dominant side in the fixture, winning three and losing two. Two of three wins include the 5-1 and 3-0 thrashings of Kerala.
Man to Watch
Kervens Belfort-Kerala Blasters: The Haitian has looked one of the brightest players amongst the Kerala ranks this season. Blessed with pace and quick feet in tight spaces, Belfort also possesses a lethal shot on him as Goa found out the last time these two sides met. On his day, the 24-year-old can turn the game on its head single-handedly for his side. He is also strong, powerful and a threat from set-pieces.
Rafael Coelho-FC Goa:The Brazilian has looked lively on the pitch and has been the Gaurs’ most potent goal threat in an otherwise barren season for Goa in front of goal. Lethal near the box, his ability to drop into pockets of space before running at defences and unleashing shots on goal make him pivotal to his side’s chances on Tuesday. He doesn’t mind helping in defence either and never shies away from a tackle.
Kerala Blasters (4-4-1-1): Nandy, Jhingan, Ndoye, Hengbart, Currais, Hossain, Mahamat, German, Chopra, Belfort, Rafi
FC Goa (4-3-3): Chowdhury, Sanjay, Lucio, Dumas, Gaikwad, Desai, Joffre, Felisbino, Reinaldo, Singh, Coelho
The match will be telecast live on Star Sports 1, Star Sports HD1, Star Sports 4, Star Sports HD4, Star Gold, Star Gold HD, Jalsha Movies, Jalsha Movies HD and Hotstar. You can also follow live text commentary of the game on Khelnow.com
Photo © ISL Media
Preview by Khel Now- correspondent Miqdad. Miqdad is a Liberal Arts student from Pune. A Liverpool fan he’s probably busy watching a sport or writing. You can follow him on Twitter.