Kerala host Bengaluru in their final home tie of the season

Match 83 of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 will witness Kerala Blasters FC taking on Bengaluru FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Saturday. The Eelco-Schattorie coached outfit are already out of the race for a semi-final berth and will be playing for pride in a bid to finish higher up in the points table.

The Blues, meanwhile, are already through to their third consecutive appearance in the knockout stage of Hero ISL, but will still be eyeing crucial points which will see them solidifying the coveted top spot in the standings. Their record against the Blasters is terrific, wherein they’ve won four of the five meetings between the pair.

Kerala Blasters FC

Schattorie’s side come into their final home game of the season in disappointing form, with their last win coming at the start of January. In the last match, the Blasters failed to find their way past a NorthEast United outfit, who’ve won just twice this season.

The absence of in-form striker Messi Bouli may have played a part in the result, but the club had enough quality in the attacking areas to score at least once. This inconsistency has been a feature of the club’s campaign, but they’ll be hoping to have a strong finish starting with the game against their fierce rivals.

Despite having collected just 10 points from eight matches at home this season, the Blasters have done fairly well at Kochi, especially in the attacking sense. Bartholomew Ogbeche and Co. have scored a decent 15 goals at home so far – the fourth highest tally in the division. They’ve only failed to find the net in Kochi on two occasions this season, and have scored a massive eight goals in the last two home matches.

Ogbeche too, has found his best rhythm in Kochi, scoring eight of his 11 goals this season on home turf. The last few games have especially seen the best of him, with the powerful forward scoring in three consecutive matches in Kochi. Only FC Goa striker Ferran Corominas has been able to match Ogeche’s exploits on home turf, making the Frenchman, Kerala’s biggest asset heading into the Blues tie.

Bengaluru FC

Mumbai City FC’s 5-2 loss at the hands of FC Goa on Wednesday confirmed Bengaluru’s spot in the Hero ISL 2019-20 semi-finals. In their last match in the league, Carles Cuadrat’s side failed to find their way past a strong Chennaiyin FC side, thus preventing them from closing the gap to FC Goa and ATK FC for the top spot. Nonetheless, they’ll still be hopeful of the same and will be confident of extending their impressive record over the Blasters in recent seasons.

Since their introduction to the league in 2017, the club have managed to remain unbeaten against only two sides. The Blasters are one of them, with the Blues scoring a substantial 10 goals against the Kochi-based club in five matches. Furthermore, the Hero ISL 2018-19 champions have taken 10 or more attempts on goal in each of the five meetings with the Blasters.

However, defender Juanan and striker Sunil Chhetri are both suspended for the Kerala match, leaving head coach Cuadrat with a slight problem to solve. Juanan’s prowess from set-pieces has been well documented throughout the season and leaves the club slightly short in that department. Goals from dead ball situations has been a feature of the club’s season so far, with the Blues scoring only seven goals from open play – the lowest tally in the division. In fact, a Chhetri strike from a well-worked corner proved to be the difference between the two units earlier in the season.

Probable line-ups:

Kerala Blasters FC: TP Rehenesh (GK), Mohamad Rakip, Vlatko Drobarov, Jessel Carneiro, Gianni Zuiverloon, Sergio Cidoncha, Halicharan Narzary, Jeakson Singh, Sahal Abdul Samad, Bartholomew Ogbeche, Messi Bouli

Bengaluru FC: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK), Ashique Kuruniyan, Albert Serran, Rahul Bheke, Nishu Kumar, Erik Paartalu, Dimas Delgado, Suresh Wangjam, Udanta Singh, Francisco Borges, Deshorn Brown

Did you know?

  • Kerala have conceded 14 goals at home – the highest tally in the division.
  • Bengaluru have conceded just five goals away from home – the lowest in the league.
  • Bengaluru have scored eight goals from corner kicks – the highest in the division.

Live Broadcast Schedule:

Hero ISL 2019-20 Match 83: Kerala Blasters FC vs Bengaluru FC

Date: February 15 (Saturday)

Time: 7:30 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Hotstar and Jio TV

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