A win will help either side go up to the fourth position in the league standings.
Kerala Blasters began their season on a positive note. However, they slumped to back-to-back defeats against Mumbai City FC and Hyderabad FC. They will now look to get back to winning ways against Odisha FC at home.
With the Yellow Army returning to Kochi to host Odisha FC on Friday, Eelco Schattorie’s men will be hopeful of going into the international break on the back of a win.
Odisha FC, who will be getting on the road for the fourth time in a row, registered their first victory against Mumbai City FC last week and will be looking to build on the momentum against Kerala Blasters.
Despite kicking-off their season with a win, the Blasters have failed to build on the momentum and see themselves sit in eighth position on the table. The daunting memories of the past season, that saw the side go on a 14-game winless run after winning the opener against ATK, now linger among the Manjappada.
The Kerala-based outfit will not want their fans to think that they are going the same route as last season.
With Kerala Blasters facing challenges from Bengaluru FC and FC Goa following the international break, they will want to go into the interval on the back of a win and with some points in the bag.
With the side’s first four games being away from home, Odisha FC were always going to face a tough challenge at the start of the season. However, the Bhubaneswar-based side have fared well so far, even registering a win against Mumbai City FC in their last match.
Winning their second consecutive game and registering two victories from four away games will be seen as a good start to the campaign by the club.
Schattorie’s side have had their fair share of issues with fitness, with a number of players struggling with injuries. Blasters were somehow managing these problems before Mario Arques received a setback in the very first game. The Spaniard was followed to the treatment table by Gianni Zuiverloon against Hyderabad, when the Dutchman was forced to come off just 13 minutes into the game.
While there are no other major injury concerns for Kerala Blasters, missing out on their star defender and midfielder will be a huge blow for the side.
Zuiverloon’s injury could see Raju Gaikwad get his first start in the Blasters’ colours.
Josep Gombau’s team have been lucky with injuries, with none of their players having fitness concerns.
The Spanish manager has a fully fit squad and will not be forced to make changes to his squad that won against Mumbai City FC in their last game.
Technically, Kerala Blasters and Odisha FC (erstwhile Delhi Dynamos) have met 12 times so far, with Blasters winning five, Dynamos winning three and the rest ending in draws.
Man to Watch
Sahal Abdul Samad (Kerala Blasters)
The youngster received his first start of the season against Hyderabad FC last Saturday and marked the occasion with an assist, setting up Rahul KP’s goal.
Sahal is expected to make his first home start against Odisha FC on Friday and we can see the Manjappada buzzing for the 22-year-old. The midfielder definitely will not want to disappoint the fans in attendance.
Aridane Santana (Odisha FC)
The Spaniard scored Odisha FC’s first goal against Jamshedpur FC and then netted a brace in the side’s 2-4 win against Mumbai City FC last week.
Aridane appears to be in good form and will have his eyes set on keeping the momentum going against Kerala Blasters on Friday. The striker is also currently the highest scorer in the league with three goals from as many games.
Rehenesh (GK); Rakip, Gaikwad, Jairo, Jessel; Moustapha, Cidoncha, Sahal, Rahul, Prasanth; Ogbeche.
Arshdeep (GK); Gharami, Delgado, Das, Sarangi; Mawihmingthanga, Rai, Guedes, Xisco, Tebar; Santana.
Did You Know?
- Schattorie’s NorthEast United met Gombau’s Delhi Dynamos twice last season. The Dutchman won on one occasion, while the other ended in a draw.
- Odisha FC (erstwhile Delhi Dynamos) have won only one game at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi.
- Odisha FC striker Aridane is a former teammate of Leicester City star Ayoze Perez. The duo played 33 games together at CD Tenerife and combined on four occasions to produce goals.
The game will be telecast live on the Star Sports Network on Friday evening from 7:30 PM IST. The game will also be streamed live on Hotstar and Jio TV.