Hero ISL 2021-22 Final Preview: Hyderabad FC and Kerala Blasters FC face off in a stellar clash for title
Grit, hard work, perseverance, glory, dedication, and passion pits the last, or shall we say the best two teams against each other. With the prized silverware on the line, Hyderabad FC will take on Kerala Blasters FC in the final of Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season at the PJN Stadium in Margao, Goa on Sunday.
Looking to write their names in the history books, both sides will play for their first-ever Hero ISL title in a final that will be celebrated and enjoyed by enthusiastic fans from all over the country.
The Manuel Marquez-led side come to the final after a 3-2 aggregate win against last season's runners-up ATK Mohun Bagan. Playing in the final for the first time, Hyderabad FC have been a force to be reckoned with, playing attractive football and tearing apart every opponent that came in their way.
Kerala Blasters FC
The Tuskers fought their way through Jamshedpur FC with a 2-1 aggregate win in the semi-final. Playing in the final is nothing new for the Kochi-based side as they play their third-ever Hero ISL Final. Head coach Ivan Vukomanovic has struck the right chord and created a formidable side.
Kerala Blasters FC and Hyderabad FC have won 3 matches apiece against each other. There have been no draws in the 6 encounters between these two clubs.
This season, both teams have won a match each. Kerala Blasters FC got the better of Hyderabad in their first meeting in January. Both teams went into the match on an eight-match unbeaten run. Hyderabad FC came out on top in the second meeting between the two in the league stage.
Joel Chianese and Asish Rai are still not 100% match fit for Hyderabad FC and a call on their inclusion will be taken closer to the final.
As for Kerala Blasters FC, Sahal Abdul Samad and Adrian Luna are doubdtful for the final. A decision on Sahal will be taken after the final training session on Saturday. Luna's participation in the final is more doubtful as he missed a few training sessions ahead of the final.
Bartholomew Ogbeche: The forward is the highest scorer in the league this season with 18 goals in his 19 matches. He needs one more goal to set a new record for most goals scored in a single Hero ISL season. The Nigerian forward has taken the 3rd most shots on goal this season (61).
Only Alvaro Vasquez (67) and Liston Colaco (84) have attempted more shots than Ogbeche this season. He has also created the most chances for the club in Hero ISL 21-22 (27).
Laxmikant Kattimani: The shotstopper has made more saves than any other keeper in this season (58). However, Kattimani has kept three clean sheets. For keepers who have played more than 5 matches this season,he has the highest save percentage in the league (72.5%).
Kerala Blasters FC
Adrian Luna: Luna is one of only three players to have 10 or more goal contributions in a single Hero ISL season for the Blasters. He is Kerala Blasters’ joint-third highest goal scorer and their highest assist provider this season.
He provided seven assists in his 22 Hero ISL appearances this season and become the highest assist provider in the club’s Hero ISL history. He has featured in every single Hero ISL match for the club in Hero ISL 21-22 and is one of only two Kerala Blasters players to achieve that feat this season.
Prabhsukhan Singh Gill: Gill has kept more clean sheets than any other keeper this season (7). In his 19 matches in Hero ISL 21-22, he has conceded only 20 goals.
Early goal sets the tone
Hyderabad FC and Kerala Blasters FC have not lost a single match after scoring first this season. KBFC have won 10 and drawn 4 after scoring first while HFC have won 9 and drawn 1 of their matches.
On the other hand, KBFC have not won a single match after conceding the first goal this season.
All good for HFC at PJN Stadium
Hyderabad FC are unbeaten in their last nine matches played at PJN Stadium, Fatorda. Their last defeat at the venue came against FC Goa in the 2019-20 season.
Match timings and telecast details
Match: Hyderabad FC vs Kerala Blasters FC
Date: March 20, 2022
Venue: PJN Stadium, Margao, Goa
Kick-off time: 7.30 pm IST
Telecast: Star Sports Network
Online Streaming: Disney+Hotstar and JioTV