Talking Point: Spotlight on goalkeepers in Kerala-Jamshedpur game

Kerala Blasters FC take on Jamshedpur FC in Match 54 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Sunday. The Kochi-based club were underwhelming in their last game against Odisha FC and will hope for a better performance against a side that has beaten the likes of ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC in the ongoing season. Here, we look at some of the talking points that could influence the outcome of the game.

Kerala Blasters have not been up to scratch

With one win and five losses in nine matches this season, Kerala Blasters have not lived up to the billing considering the attractive names that the side roped in ahead of the season. Gary Hooper arrived in the Hero ISL with a lot of expectations but the Englishman has scored only two goals in seven matches this season. Injuries to Bakary Kone and Costa Nhamoinesu have hampered their defence and the duo of Abdul Hakku and Sandeep Singh failed against Odisha’s attack in their last game.

Valskis has good record against Kerala

Jamshedpur FC’s Nerijus Valskis has scored six goals in nine games this season but the Lithuanian striker has been unable to find the back of the net in his last three matches. Jamshedpur have only three different goalscorers this season: Valskis has the most goals for his team, while defender Stephen Eze and Aniket Jadhav have scored thrice and once respectively. Valskis has largely shouldered the burden of Jamshedpur’s attack but needs better service from his wingers. Last season, playing for Chennaiyin FC he had five-goal contributions against Kerala Blasters and that will give him a lot of confidence going into the game.   

Battle of two in-form goalkeepers

Both sides have two of the best goalkeepers in the league this season. While TP Rehenesh is a seasoned Hero ISL campaigner with 70 appearances to his name, this is Albino Gomes’ breakthrough season. The Kerala Blasters goalkeeper has made the most saves this season (28), one more than Rehenesh who has played one game fewer. Albino has also saved three spot-kicks out of five so far. Given that both sides have had defensive issues of their own, the performance of the goalkeepers might just prove the difference on Sunday night.  

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