Kerala host Delhi in ISL Playoffs tussle
The hosts will be looking for a win to take an advantage into the second leg...
Kerala Blasters will be looking to take a step towards the Final with a win when they host Delhi Dynamos in the first leg of their Indian Super League playoff at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi on Sunday.
Though Kerala finished above Delhi in the league but the South Indian club had to wait till their last match where they defeated NorthEast United FC to qualify for the playoffs. On the other hand, the Lions had qualified with two matches to spare. However, they lost and drew against NorthEast and Mumbai City FC respectively in the last two matches.
This is the second time for both the teams in the playoffs. Last season, Delhi finished fourth and qualified for the playoffs for the first time, but even after having a one-goal advantage in the home leg, they surrendered 3-0 to FC Goa in the away match. While Blasters appeared in the Final of the inaugural season defeating Chennaiyin FC 4-3 on an aggregate in the semi-finals. In the showpiece, Atletico de Kolkata edge them out thanks to a last minute goal by Mohammed Rafique.
Blasters have peaked at the right time in this tournament and have a fully fit squad to pick from ahead of this crunch clash.
Delhi rested key personnel in the draw against Mumbai to avoid suspensions ahead of the playoffs and they too have no fresh injuries.
In the two meetings of the season, the Lions have defeated Kerala in Delhi while their first game ended in a goalless draw in Kochi. In the previous seasons, both teams have won one each and drawn the other two.
Man to Watch
CK Vineeth-Kerala Blasters: The striker joined the Blasters nine games into the season due to AFC Cup commitments with Bengaluru FC. The local boy has played a brilliant role since wearing the Yellow jersey, scoring five goals in 6 matches. With his pace and excellent footwork to dribble past defenders, he will be a real threat to the Delhi defense.
Marcelinho-Delhi Dynamos: The Brazilian striker has been in fantastic form with the Lions. The forward has already scored nine goals and is leading the race for the Golden Boot. He will have to play a key role if they want to be in the Final.
Kerala Blasters: (4-4-1-1) Stack, Jhingan, Hughes, Hengbart, Anto, Ahmed, Nazon, Mahamat, Vineeth, Belfort, Rafi.
Delhi Dynamos: (4-3-3) Santana, Lalchhawnkima, Rocha, Edathodika, C'kraborty, Milan, Tébar, Malouda, Pereira, Gadze.
The match will be telecast live on Star Sports 1, Star Sports HD1, Star Gold, Star Gold HD, Jalsha Movies, Jalsha Movies HD, and Hotstar. You can also follow live commentary on Khel Now website by our ISL correspondent.
Preview by Khel Now Correspondent Ravish Narvekar from Goa . A true Football enthusiast & a die hard Liverpool fan. Ravish also enjoys travelling & he's an avid foodie.
Published: Sat Dec 10, 2016 09:05 PM IST