Kerala, Hyderabad look for a fresh start in their first match of 2020

Kerala Blasters FC welcome Hyderabad FC to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Sunday in what will be the two team's first Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 fixture of the year 2020. Hyderabad are currently at the bottom of the points table with just five points from 10 outings while Kerala are just one spot above them having secured eight from as many matches. Needless to say, both teams will be eager to turn over a new page in the new year, starting with three points from Sunday's contest.

Kerala Blasters FC

Now winless in nine matches, Kerala will be desperate to break the trend and the prospect of facing off against bottom-placed team Hyderabad at home does provide them with the perfect opportunity to hopefully notch up a win - their first since the opening match of the competition back in October. Eelco Schattorie's men have so far dropped nine points from winning positions - the most by any team this season. Both their attack and defence have contributed to the unflattering stat, with the attackers only managing 10 goals so far and the defence letting in 14 goals, mostly in crucial junctures of games.

Kerala's offence, for most parts, has been led by Bartholomew Ogbeche and Raphael Messi Bouli, with the duo contributing to eight of the team's ten goals this season. However, apart from the two, the rest of the side, including the midfield, have failed to carry any substantial goal threat in matches - an aspect of their game which would have been surely addressed during the short break.

Shortcomings in the defence too have been left exposed, with opponents particularly targeting their frailty while defending set pieces. 50% of the 14 goals the team has conceded so far have come about from dead ball situations and Vlatko Drobarov and Co. will surely want to plug that hole going into Sunday's fixture. One possible boost for Schattorie heading into Sunday’s game, however, will be the potential return of Gianni Zuiverloon. The Dutch centre back was sidelined for almost eight weeks with an injury and his return will be a big positive for the side.

Hyderabad FC

Like Kerala, Hyderabad have been able to register just a single win this campaign but interestingly, their only triumph this season came against the Men in Yellow in the reverse fixture last year. In the match, Phil Brown's men went a goal down early but fought back resolutely to earn a 2-1 victory and much of the same application and attitude will be expected of them in the coming game.

Taking a holistic view, Hyderabad's defence has let them down with the team letting in a whopping 21 goals so far, the worst defensive record so far this season. Off late, the team has looked good on possession but when off the ball, has struggled to maintain their shape which, in turn, led to continuous defensive lapses and cost them points. Hyderabad fans will certainly hope that the likes of Matthew Kilgallon, Rafael Lopez Gomez and the others can rally in the coming matches and arrest the downward spiral.

In attack, the team has scored as many goals as Kerala but to be fair, have only gradually improved only recently. Of their ten goals, five have come in the last three outings with Bobo scoring four of them. Brown will hope the Brazilian’s aerial prowess comes into play and can expose Kerala’s weakness at defending set-pieces yet again come Sunday.

Probable line-ups:

Kerala Blasters FC: TP Rehenesh (GK), Jessel Carneiro, Vlatko Drobarov, Mohamad Rakip, Gianni Zuiverloon, Mario Arques, Seityasen Singh, Prasanth Karuthadathkuni, Sahal Abdul Samad, Messi Bouli, Bartholomew Ogbeche

Hyderabad FC:  Kamaljit Singh (GK), Adil Khan, Gurtej Singh, Matthew Kilgallon, Rohit Kumar, Nikhil Poojary, Asish Rai, Marko Stankovic, Bobo, Marcelo Pereira (C), Nestor Jesus Benitez

Did you know?

  • Kerala Blasters are winless in 9 matches, the longest run by any team this season.
  • Hyderabad are winless in 7, the second-longest run.
  • Hyderabad’s only victory of the season came in the reverse fixture against Kerala.

Fan Speak:

Who, do you think, will be able to end their winless run on Sunday?

  • Kerala Blasters FC
  • Hyderabad FC

Live Broadcast Schedule:

Hero ISL 2019-20 Match 52: Kerala Blasters FC vs Hyderabad FC

Date: January 5 (Sunday)

Time: 7:30 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Hotstar and Jio TV

Your Comments