Kerala eye first win since opening day against Jamshedpur
Kerala Blasters FC will be hoping to win their first game since the opening day of Hero Indian Super (Hero ISL) 2019-20 when they welcome Jamshedpur FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Friday. Eelco Schattorie’s side haven’t won since beating ATK, with injuries playing a major part in their disappointing run. Jamshedpur, meanwhile, will hardly be in the mood to do the Kochi-based club any favours, having failed to win their last two matches. They have never lost against the Blasters and will have the psychological advantage going into the tie.
The addition of Vlatko Drobarov has tightened their defence but the loss of key defensive reinforcements has been the biggest problem for Kerala this season. Sandesh Jhingan, Jairo Rodriques and Mario Arques have been out of action for a long period of time, meaning the two-time Hero ISL finalists will face stiff competition against an attacking Jamshedpur side.
That said, injuries to Piti and Sergio Castel might help Kerala take the game to the away side. After beating FC Goa on their home ground, Jamshedpur were held to two consecutive draws at home. Kerala will have to take advantage of the oppositions weakened attack and score early, with Messi Bouli crucial to the home side’s attack. Midfielders Jeakson Singh and Prasanth Karuthadathkuni will have a role to play at the centre of the park and the youngsters can expect a challenging outing against the experience of Aitor Monroy and Memo Moura.
Currently in the fourth spot, Jamshedpur will be eager to strengthen their top-four credentials with what would be a second consecutive win on the road. Antonio Iriondo’s men will be hoping their two biggest threats - Piti and Sergio Castel can regain fitness ahead of the clash. The Spanish duo have been Jamshedpur’s two biggest difference-makers and their influence on the pitch cannot be undermined. Their midfield partnership of Monroy and Memo, meanwhile, offer them solidity, while Farukh Choudhary has been a revelation in the wide areas this season and is likely to pose a massive threat to Kerala’s defence.
Defensively, Jamshedpur have done well for most of the season even though there may have been one or two blemishes in the last game. The experience of Tiri along with the energy of Robin Gurung and Narender Gahlot has come to the fore more than once in Hero ISL 2019-20. Other individuals to keep an eye on are Isaac Vanmalsawma and Aniket Jadhav. Both players had telling impacts on the last game for Jamshedpur and they will be hoping to produce something similar on Friday.
Kerala Blasters FC: TP Rehenesh (GK), Mohamad Rakip, Raju Gaikwad, Jessel Carneiro, Vlatko Drobarov, Jeakson Singh, Sergio Cidoncha, Rahul KP, Prasanth Karuthadathkuni, Messi Bouli, Sahal Abdul Samad
Jamshedpur FC: Subrata Paul (GK), Tiri, Joyner Lourenco, Memo Moura, Jitendra Singh, Narender Gahlot, Aitor Monroy, Robin Gurung, Mobashir Rahman, Farukh Choudhary, CK Vineeth
Did you know?
- Kerala have won just two out of their last 10 matches at home.
- Jamshedpur have won just one of their last 10 away matches.
- Kerala have conceded five goals through set pieces, the highest in the league.
- Jamshedpur have scored three goals on the counter, the most in the league.
Will Kerala be able to resist Jamshedpur’s attack and secure their second win of the season?
Have your say in the comments below.
Live broadcast schedule
Hero ISL 2019-20 Match 37: Kerala Blasters FC vs Jamshedpur FC
Time: 7:30 PM onwards, December 13
Channels: Star Sports Network
Streaming: Hotstar and Jio TV