Buoyant Kerala host stuttering Chennai in Southern Derby in ISL
Both teams come into the game in contrasting firm..
Chennaiyin FC take on fierce rivals Kerala Blasters FC in the Indian Super League’s second Southern Derby of the season at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi as they hope to swiftly bounce back after suffering a 4-1 belting at the hands of table toppers Delhi Dynamos on Wednesday.
After a somewhat slow start to their campaign, the Super Machans appeared to have recuperated as they racked up points despite winning only two games. However, with no wins in four games, they now face an uphill battle to qualify for the playoff s.
Garnering 10 points in eight outings, they currently sit seventh in the Indian Super League standings. Blasters, on the other hand, having won just a single game more than Saturday’s visitors have, sit fifth.
Coming off a morale-boosting 2-1 home win against bottom club FC Goa, Steve Coppell will look to register back-to-back wins as he aspires to become the first British manager to lift the ISL title. Knowing a win with a two-goal advantage could catapult them to the second spot, they will hope to upset the defending champions whilst the stuttering Chennaiyin shall also know a win would help them reach a playoff spot.
The home side welcomed back CK Vineeth and Rino Anto after their Bengaluru FC obligations ended recently and have no fresh injury concerns or suspensions.
Marco Materazzi, who has proved an unsympathetic – and success-hungry – manager, will likely make changes to his line-up in light of his side’s recent humiliation in Delhi. John Arne Riise is fit again after missing a huge chunk of the tournament through an injury, but Eli Sabia Filho’s consistency will see him retain his place whilst demoting last game’s goal-scorer Bernard Mendy may seem a tad harsh. In addition, Manuele Blasi, Thoi Singh, and Jayesh Rane will all hope to return to the starting lineup.
Head to Head
Blasters have claimed Chennaiyin’s scalp on just a single occasion – albeit a big one, in the playoffs in 2014 – as they otherwise boast an appalling record against the Chennai club. Having lost four games against Chennaiyin, Saturday’s game presents them the best opportunity to improve their record as the Blues now find themselves in a somewhat pathetic state.
Man to Watch
Cedric Hengbart-Kerala Blasters: Although goalscoring remains the least promising department in Coppell’s camp, they average 1.3 points per game – the fifth most in the division – and stand a good chance of qualifying for the semi-finals. Much of their recent revival is down to their solid defense, marshaled by marquee player Aaron Hughes and Cedric Hengbart. Hengbart’s solidity is sure to upset the celebrated Chennaiyin frontline.
Raphael Augusto-Chennaiyin FC: Raphael Augusto has proved a revelation this season as he clearly commands a good chance of sweeping numerous awards at the end of the season. He was easily the best – and the only good – Chennaiyin player against Dynamos. His creativity and destroyer tendencies shall be crucial for Materazzi’s men to produce a result ON the Malabar coast.
Kerala Blasters: Stack, Anto, Hengbart, Jhingan, Currias, Hossain, Mahamat, Chopra, Vineeth, Belfort, Rafique
Chennaiyin: Karanjit, Wadoo, Eli Sabia, Riise, Lalrinzuala, Hanghal, Augusto, Sahni, Peluso, Succi, Lalpekhlua
The match will be telecast live on Star Sports 2, Star Sports HD2, Star Sports 1, Star Sports HD1, Star Gold, Star Gold HD, Jalsha Movies, Jalsha Movies HD, and Hotstar.
You can also follow Khel Now’s live text commentary of the game, with our ISL correspondent Praveen R. Paramasivam reporting things as they happen from Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
Photo © ISL Media
Editorial by Khel Now Correspondent from Chennai Praveen R. Paramasivam
Published: Fri Nov 11, 2016 10:20 PM IST