First semi-final, second-leg preview: Kerala Blasters FC carry slim edge in blockbuster clash against dangerous Jamshedpur FC
Jamshedpur FC will be aiming to overturn a one-goal deficit and qualify for the summit clash as they take on an upbeat Kerala Blasters FC in the semi-final second leg clash of the ongoing Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 at the Tilak Maidan Stadium, in Vasco, on Tuesday evening.
Owen Coyle’s side have already clinched the League Winners’ Shield and are eyeing a double by winning the ISL championship as well. A narrow deficit won’t be too big a factor given the quality of players they have at their disposal.
On the other hand, Kerala Blasters FC cannot be content with the one-goal lead, they need to push for extending the lead and rest any chances of a resurgence from Jamshedpur FC.
Kerala Blasters FC - LWWDW
The Blasters have won three, lost once and drawn the remaining of their last five matches this season. Their win over Jamshedpur FC in the first leg will definitely give them a psychological edge going into game, as they aim to qualify for the final after a gap of six years.
Jamshedpur FC - WWWWL
It was a few days back that Jamshedpur FC created a Hero ISL record, having won seven games in a row. However, their streak was derailed by a spirited Kerala Blasters FC in the first leg of the first semi-final, as they succumbed to a solitary goal by Sahal Abdul Samad.
Kerala Blasters FC’s Denechandram Meitei won’t be available for the all-important clash. Meanwhile, Jamshedpur FC’s Boris Singh is also ruled out of the game, with Seimilen Doungel also doubtful.
Kerala Blasters FC
Adrian Luna: The main architect in the Kerala Blasters FC unit, Adrian Luna has scored five times and assisted on seven other occasions in the Hero ISL 2021-22 so far. Despite taking two shots on target, he was not as effective as per his reputation in the first leg. Given the big match player he is, there is no doubt that Luna will hold the cards for the Blasters in the second leg and possibly steer them to the final.
Sahal Abdul Samad: After a slow start to the season, the Indian gathered momentum going along, as he struck six and assisted once so far, making him the one of the influential members of the campaign. Sahal’s sharp presence of mind helped him score a brilliant goal in the first leg, which has given his team the advantage ahead of the deciding tie. With a stiff challenge ahead, the playmaker is likely to play a key role once again.
Greg Stewart: 10 goals and 10 assists in 20 matches this season - Greg Stewart has been in a league of his own. That being said, he had a below average day at the office in the last game, where he only managed to create a couple of chances and failed to get a shot in the stipulated time. But, great players have the tendency to make it big in crunch matches, which is why he will be a lethal force in Tuesday’s game.
Ritwik Kumar Das: The youngster came out of his shell in the business end of the league and synchronised with Jamshedpur FC’s dream run en-route semi-finals. In the last six matches, Ritwik has scored four times and assisted once, including the crucial goal that helped the Men of Steel claim the coveted ISL League Winners’ Shield. With momentum by his side, the Indian forward is quite capable of making a difference in the upcoming game.
Venue record: Jamshedpur FC are unbeaten in the last seven matches at the Tilak Maidan, in Vasco, including the four matches they played at the venue this season (having won twice and drawn an equal number of times).
Kerala Blasters bank on history: As per records, the Blasters are likely to qualify for the final. They have made it to the finals twice before this season - 2014 and 2016. In each of those seasons, they had taken the lead in the first leg and went on to qualify for the summit clash.
TP Rehenesh eyeing record: If Jamshedpur FC’s TP Rehenesh keeps a clean sheet in the upcoming game, he will become the fourth goalkeeper in the Hero ISL to reach the 30-clean sheet milestone after Amrinder Singh, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Arindam Bhattacharja.
Match timings and telecast details
Match: Kerala Blasters FC vs Jamshedpur FC
Date: 15th March 2022
Venue: Tilak Maidan Stadium, Vasco
Kick-off time: 7.30 pm
Telecast: Star Sports Network
Online Streaming: Disney+Hotstar and JioTV.