Hume eyes victory with Pune on his return to Kerala

Two teams who have had a torrid time in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19 so far – Kerala Blasters FC and FC Pune City – face off at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Friday. A win for either side could prove to be a turning point for their chances of qualification for the playoffs. The match will see Kerala legend Iain Hume make an emotional return to the club, this time donning the colours of Pune.

KERALA BLASTERS FC

The Blasters are enduring a similar campaign to the one in 2015, when they went on a six-match winless run after clinching three points on the opening day. This time, however, Kerala have not won in nine matches since their victory against ATK. The signs are not looking favourable for David James and Co. with their chances for a spot in the playoffs hanging by a thread.

However, James will take heart from their last performance at home against Jamshedpur. The Blasters showed grit and determination to come from a goal behind to rescue a point. Had they been a bit more fortunate, a victory could have been on the cards. Seiminlen Doungel has been Kerala’s most purposeful attacker over the past month. The forward’s smart runs in the box can cause problems for a Pune team that has leaked goals this season. If James can get his team to improve their finishing, Kerala could register their second win of the season.

Here’s a look at Kerala’s season in numbers:

FC PUNE CITY

Pune’s dismal campaign seems to be going from bad to worse with each match. Despite putting in a valiant performance against table-toppers Bengaluru last week, the Stallions still came out second best after a late winner from Rahul Bheke. Pradyum Reddy will be wary of the fact that his side have already conceded 21 goals so far- their worst defensive record in Hero ISL history. Drastic changes are needed from the side if they are to salvage their season.

Another statistic that does not work in Pune’s favour has been their head to head record against Kerala. The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium has not been a happy hunting ground for the side having failed to win on any of their four previous visits. However, Pune do have the individual quality to turn things around. With the likes of Hume and Marcelo Pereira in the squad, Kerala cannot afford to take the Stallions lightly.

Here’s a look at Pune’s season in numbers:

PROBABLE LINE-UPS:

KERALA BLASTERS FC: Dheeraj Singh (GK), Sandesh Jhingan (C), Anas Edathodika, Nemanja Lakic-Pesic, Cyril Kali, Zakeer Mundampara, Nikola Krcmarevic, Sahal Abdul Samad, Keziron Kizito, Halicharan Narzary, Matej Poplatnik

FC Pune City: Kamaljit Singh (GK), Ashutosh Mehta, Matt Mills, Martin Diaz, Lalchhuanmawia Fanai, Jonathan Vila, Adil Khan, Robin Singh, Ashique Kuruniyan, Marcelo Pereira, Iain Hume

DID YOU KNOW?

  • FC Pune City have conceded 21 goals this season out of which 12 have been conceded in the first half.
  • The only victory for Pune over Kerala was in 2015 in a 3-2 win at Pune.
  • Since their opening day victory over ATK, Kerala haven’t won a single match since this season. Their next nine matches have ended in six draws and three losses.

FANSPEAK

Will Iain Hume score against his former side Kerala Blasters?

  • Yes
  • No

Have your say in the comments section below. 

Catch the match live on the Star Sports Network, Hotstar and Jio TV from 7:30 PM.

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