Talking Point: Kerala’s defence faces a big test against Chennaiyin

Kerala Blasters FC will be looking for their first win of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 when they take on two-time champions Chennaiyin FC in Sunday’s second game. The Kochi-based team gave away a two-goal lead in their previous encounter against NorthEast United FC, and on Sunday all eyes will be on their defence against a Chennaiyin FC side that created a number of chances against Jamshedpur FC in their last game. Ahead of the game at Bambolim’s GMC Stadium, let’s take a look at a few factors that can influence the outcome in a big way.

Kerala need to address their defensive woes

Kerala Blasters have an experienced centre-back pairing of Bakary Kone and Costa Nhamoinesu but the team are yet to keep a clean sheet this season. With three goals in two matches, the defence needs to up its game, especially in the second half. Against the Highlanders, Kerala allowed 10 shots, with four of them on target and two leading to goals. In fact, statistics show that Kerala’s defence is very good in the first half with no shots on target in their previous two games but in the second half they have conceded six shots on target.

Esmael Goncalves can be a game-changer

Chennaiyin head coach Csaba Laszlo has brought in Jakub Sylvestr and Esmael Goncalves as their main attacking threats for Hero ISL 2020-21. Both forwards started against Jamshedpur but it was Goncalves who proved their main attacking threat, assisting Anirudh Thapa for the first goal and scoring from the spot to double his side’s lead. Of his four shots, three were on target and the forward created one chance for his side as well.

Thapa and Chhangte ready to step up

Two of India’s most promising talents, Anirudh Thapa and Lallianzuala Chhangte proved their worth in Chennaiyin’s opening game of the season. Having been asked to prove themselves as leaders in the dressing room by their head coach, both players had a great beginning to the 2020-21 Hero ISL, with Thapa opening the scoring into the first minute of the game itself against Jamshedpur. Meanwhile, Chhangte began where he left off last season, and won the penalty which doubled his side’s lead. The winger created three more chances and two of his three shots were on target.

 

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