Kerala aim to continue surge, Jamshedpur look for course correction
Kerala Blasters FC will be looking to continue their surge up the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 table when they face off against Jamshedpur FC at the JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur on Sunday. The hosts, meanwhile, will be eager to get back on track after failing to win any of their last six outings.
After a strong start to their campaign, Antonio Iriondo's men are in the midst of six match winless run, including back to back losses in their last three. Playing in front of their home crowd, Jamshedpur will look to end the worrying run with a home win and get themselves back in contention for a top four spot. Currently eighth and just one point behind Kerala, a win is the need of the hour for the team if they are to mount a serious challenge for the top four heading into the business end of the campaign.
An injury to top scorer Sergio Castel has played a major role in Jamshedpur's recent slump and fans will hope the Spaniard will be back to spearhead Jamshedpur's attacking line against the in-form Kerala side. Midfield maestro Piti's absence, also owing to an injury, has only added to the team's woes and it remains to be seen if the veteran midfielder has any involvement against Kerala.
Amidst the doom and gloom, however, Jamshedpur can take heart from the fact that they have never lost against Kerala in the Hero ISL. The Jharkhand-based side has won one and drawn four in their five meetings against the Men in Yellow. The crucial thing for Jamshedpur will be not to concede first. This season, in the five matches where they let in the opening goal, Iriondo's men have lost four and drew just once.
Kerala's season, in many respects, have been the polar opposite to Jamshedpur. After a disappointing start to the campaign, which saw them win just one in their first ten outings this season, Eelco Schattorie's men seem to have turned things around with back to back victories in their last two. A win on Sunday will bring them within just four points of the top four, giving them a realistic chance of making a play for a coveted semi-final spot in the final few matches of the league phase. Furthermore, the team will be buoyed after their brilliant victory over rivals ATK FC and will be eager to carry the momentum forward.
Raphael Messi Bouli being drafted into the regular playing XI has yielded positive results for the team. The Cameroonian has struck up a good partnership with star forward Bartholomew Ogbeche and the duo has contributed to 11 of Kerala's 16 goals so far. In fact, in the last seven matches where Messi has been, more or less, a regular starter, Kerala have scored 13 times. In comparison, in the first five where the 27-year-old was primarily used as an impact sub, Kerala managed just three goals.
With injuries in midfield and defence also thinning out, Schattorie and Co. will look to make a serious push for the top four and a victory over Jamshedpur will go a long way in aiding that pursuit.
Probable starting line-ups:
Jamshedpur FC: Subrata Paul (GK), Tiri, Narender Gahlot, Jitendra Singh, Aitor Monroy, Amarjit Singh, Noe Acosta, Memo Moura, Farukh Choudhary, Gourav Mukhi, David Grande
Kerala Blasters FC: TP Rehenesh (GK), Mohamad Rakip, Jessel Carneiro, Abdul Hakku, Vlatko Drobarov, Mario Arques, Seityasen Singh, Halicharan Narzary, Mouhamadou Gning, Messi Bouli, Bartholomew Ogbeche
Did you know?
- Jamshedpur have not won a match after conceding first (4 losses and 1 draw from 5 matches in which they have conceded first).
- Kerala kept their first clean sheet away from home this season in their last match against ATK.
- Kerala have scored just 4 goals away from home so far (only NEUFC has scored less).
Live Broadcast Schedule:
Hero ISL 2019-20 Match 63: Jamshedpur FC vs Kerala Blasters FC
Date: January 19 (Sunday)
Time: 7:30 PM onwards
Channels: Star Sports Network
Streaming: Hotstar and Jio TV