Kerala Blasters can climb to the table-top with a fourth consecutive victory.
Two teams with a lot of flair will look to put the other to the sword when Kerala Blasters FC and Jamshedpur FC cross paths in what promises to be a crunch Reliance Foundation Development League (RFDL) fourth-round encounter at the Benaulim Ground here on Wednesday.
In the first game of the day, Reliance Foundation Young Champs (RFYC) will look to build on their momentum and script another victory when they take on winless Chennaiyin FC at the Nagoa Ground.
Kerala are joint-top of the table with Bengaluru FC, having won their first three games. Bengaluru have also racked up three wins, but after Jamshedpur’s thumping 5-1 win over FC Goa the other day, it looks like they will prove to be more than a stern test for high-flying Kerala who seem to have that dash of experience too on their side, with quite a few first-team players in their ranks.
Kerala were not particularly dominant against a dogged Chennaiyin, Givson Singh missing a penalty too. But eventually, it was the brilliant Vincy Barretto who scored the winner, underlining the team’s capability to grind out results even when they are not at their best.
Jamshedpur were rampant in their last outing, not letting Goa get a grip of the game after the initial flurry. The Red Miners have shown they can not only keep the ball, but can also be strong when needed to press high and outmuscle the opposition, something Kerala need to be wary of.
Ayush Adhikari could be a doubtful starter for Kerala as he was taken off after 57 minutes against Chennaiyin FC. Kerala have nine points from three outings, while Jamshedpur have seven from three matches.
Coming to the morning kickoff, RF Young Champs will have their tails up after a stellar performance in the last game to down Mumbai City FC. The Arata Izumi-coached side are the youngest in the competition, but produced a spirited display against local rivals Mumbai City with Sanan Mohammed catching the eye. Gulab Himbahadur and Rashid CK were also good besides getting the goals as the boys in red showed a lot of composure in the final third.
Chennaiyin, still looking for their first win in RFDL 2022, will know all too well that they cannot afford to give space deep inside their half to RF Young Champs. Coached by Cleofas Alex, Chennaiyin FC have shown improvement since their opening-day defeat to FC Goa. Niketh N was a rock at the back for the Marina Machans in the last game while Sufiyan Shaikh impressed up front.
Chennaiyin FC are seventh in the eight-team points table with one point from three games, while RF Young Champs have moved to fourth place having three points from the same number of matches.
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