Kerala Blasters travel to Pune city eyeing last-gasp playoffs bid
Written by: ISL-Indian Super League
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FC Pune City 1 – 4 Kerala Blasters FC (2 draws)
Adil Khan (FC Pune City)
The Stallions’ midfield engine has been one of the most versatile players in the league this season. His attacking prowess has been as commendable as his defensive display. The 29-year-old wins most of his aerial duels and is always a big threat from attacking set-pieces. Khan’s tally of four so far is particularly impressive seeing that he mostly plays the holding role in Pune’s midfield.
Iain Hume (Kerala Blasters FC)
Hero ISL’s all-time leading goal-scorer has shown good scoring touch of late. The Canadian striker has displayed much of the class that had deserted him at the start of the season. Hume will look to be amongst the goals once more when his team visits Pune and he will be confident of getting on the scoresheet again, having netted five times this season, including the winner from the spot against Delhi in Kerala’s last fixture.
FC Pune City
Ranko Popovic will probably field a 4-2-3-1 formation with Emiliano Alfaro spearheading the Stallions’ attack.
Goalkeeper: Vishal Kaith
Defenders: Sarthak Golui, Gurtej Singh, Rafael Lopez, Lalchhuanmawia Fanai
Midfielders: Diego Carlos, Adil Khan, Jonatan Lucca, Marcelinho, Ashique Kuruniyan
Forward: Emiliano Alfaro
Pune head coach Popovic assessing his opponents’ mentality: “It will be a very difficult match because we know what Kerala is like. It is a traditionally good club. And especially, now at this moment, there are some fresh players. They have a new challenge, and the motivation is big for them.”
Kerala Blasters FC
David James will probably use a regular 4-4-2 formation to provide balance in the gameplay.
Goalkeeper: Subhasish Roy
Defenders: Lalruatthara, Wes Brown, Nemanja Lakic-Pesic, Sandesh Jhingan
Midfielders: Courage Pekuson, Victor Forcada, Milan Singh, Jackichand Singh
Forwards: CK Vineeth, Iain Hume
Kerala head coach David James on his approach for the remaining games: “One of the things you do as a head coach is not stifle the opportunities of your players. Bringing in players can be done, but it does not mean it is the right thing for the club. There are performances in the team which were so encouraging that it kind of changes your mindset on how you got to approach the remaining five games.”
- Both Pune and Kerala have lost four matches so far
- The Stallions’ only win against Kerala has come in Pune
Kerala Blasters 1-1 FC Pune City (4th January 2018 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi)
FC Pune City: W W L D W
Kerala Blasters: W L L W W
Published: Thu Feb 01, 2018 09:46 PM IST