Kerala Blasters Vs Girona Preview: Wounded Blasters face tough Spanish challenge
Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar
Playing on consecutive days the La Liga outfit are widely expected to rotate their lineup.
After suffering a humiliating 0-6 loss to Melbourne City, hosts Kerala Blasters will be playing for pride against Spanish side Girona in the final match of the Toyota Yaris La Liga World pre-season tournament. Kerala suffered a real wake-up call from the hard-working Melbourne, who ousted them in every aspect on the pitch on Tuesday. They looked especially harrowed defensively, but will have to tighten up if they're to survive the onslaught of Girona's attack.
While it's well noted that the Blasters players are not fully match-fit yet and are still getting into shape through pre-season training, they would like to give the Manjapadda faithful something to cheer about on Saturday. The Yellow Army will be coming back in numbers and David James will hope his side can show improvement and give a tough fight to the Spanish outfit.
About The Teams
Kerala Blasters will definitely be making some changes to their team after the humiliation against Melbourne and they need a better spark in attack to create chances, which were non-existent against the Australians. While Kerala are yet to find a replacement for Dimitar Berbatov, they will hope that new strikers Matej Popaltnik and Slavisa Stojanovic can show signs of their goalscoring prowess against Girona. They also need better wingers and creators, but Seiminlen Doungel's decent work against Melbourne means that he'll be one to watch.
The Blasters could also give debuts to Santosh Trophy stars Afdal VK and Jithin MS, who are both known to be unpredictable yet effective attackers and can cause problems for Girona. There will also mostly be a change to their defensive shape, with Sandesh Jhingan moving into the middle to accompany fellow national team star Anas Edathodika. Despite not being the same in terms of skill, Kerala have a lot of heart in their team and will look to use that to lift the mood of their dejected fans- who despite this being a pre-season tournament- will want to see a spark in their team's game.
Girona will have to play against the hosts a day after fighting it out against Melbourne City and they'll be aiming to lift high the Toyota Yaris La Liga World trophy at the end of their pre-season campaign in India. They might not have brought some of their bigger stars along with them, but coach Eusebio Sacristan will look to give every member of their squad valuable minutes to impress him and get a chance to make the senior team once the season stars.
The Spaniards will obviously look to thrill the fans themselves with their attacking brand of football, but will need to be wary of the threat the hosts themselves possess. They might be overwhelming favorites to win the tournament, but Girona need to be careful to not let complacency creep into the squad, as it could create an embarrassing situation for them, if they were to drop points against the Indian side.
The match will be played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi which has a capacity of 60,000, making it the fourth largest stadium in India.
Dheeraj, Rakip, Jhingan, Anas, Lakic-Pesic, Kizito, Prasanth, Narzary, Doungel, Slavisa, Matej.
Manager: David James
Moreno, Zuniga, Chimeno, Muniesa, Lopez, Reira, Copvi, Jimenez, Nogue, Colon, Manzanera.
Manager: Eusebio Sacristian
What To Expect
The game between Kerala Blasters and Girona is expected to be a free-flowing one because it's the final game of the tournament and the players will look to give the fans football which is worth the money. Both sides will be playing on the attack to try and score as many goals as possible.
One can expect the players to have a lot of fun with each other, especially if rain doesn't play spoilsport, a really entertaining game can be expected to go down in Kochi.
Published: Fri Jul 27, 2018 06:17 PM IST