Match 11 Preview: Chennaiyin take on Kerala Blasters in battle of southern rivals

Chennaiyin FC will be looking to register successive wins in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 when they take on southern rivals Kerala Blasters FC at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Sunday. The second of two matches in what promises to be an action-packed Super Sunday, Kerala will be looking to deny Chennaiyin from making it back-to-back wins as they search for their first victory of the campaign.

The Marina Machans looked impressive in the win over Jamshedpur in their first match of the season and they will be looking to pick up where they left off when they face Kerala. They looked like a big threat while attacking against Jamshedpur as their wide attacking talents Esmael Goncalves and Lallianzuala Chhangte caused all sorts of trouble for the defenders.

Esmael got his name on the scoresheet but Chhangte didn’t and you can rest assured that the Indian winger is itching to return to the pitch in search of his first goal of the season. Striker Jakub Sylvestr is another attacking talent who will be eager to find the back of the net for Chennaiyin. He created three chances for his teammates last time around.

The two-time champions’ midfield and defence also looked organized in their season opener. Anirudh Thapa – Hero ISL 2020-21’s first Indian goal-scorer – and Rafael Crivellaro are integral to Chennaiyin’s system and the opposition must first keep them quiet, if they want to stop the Marina Machans from playing and finding their rhythm.

Chennaiyin, in fact, have an abundance of options to choose from in midfield boasting names like Memo Moura, Germanpreet Singh, Fatkhullo Fatkhuloev, Edwin Vanspaul and Thoi Singh. Their defence seems pretty settled as well with Eli Sabia and Enes Sipovic making up their centre-back pairing, while the likes of Reagan Singh, Lalchhuanmawia Fanai and Jerry Lalrinzuala fight for the fullback slots.

“We know our opponents very well. We have to try to control the game. Kerala is a good team. Vicuna knows Indian football well. The important thing is how the team's desire is during the game. We have to enjoy our football. We have a style and we try to work on our style. We will look to win the game and hopefully we will collect all three points,” Chennaiyin head coach Csaba Laszlo said in the pre-match press conference.

Kerala Blasters, on the other hand, will be hoping that they get third time lucky after failing to win their first two matches of the season. They have been involved in a defeat and a draw so far but will take confidence into the clash against Chennaiyin after a decent display in their previous match.

That said, they must be meaner at the back having failed to register their first clean sheet of the season yet. On paper, they have a solid backline comprising Costa Nhamoinesu, Bakary Kone, Nishu Kumar and Jessel Carneiro. However, they must do better collectively than they have done so far.

Their midfield can do a bit better as well. Sergio Cidoncha scored a brilliant header for Kerala in the last match and will be looking to build on that. Vicente Gomez, meanwhile, needs to do a better job in terms of shielding Kerala’s backline.

The onus for creating chances from the wide areas will be on Seityasen Singh. He along with Jordan Murray, Facundo Pereyra and Gary Hooper, who scored in Kerala’s last game, will be entrusted with finding the back of the net as well as create openings. The likes of Ritwik Das, Nongdamba Naorem and Sahal Abdul Samad, who missed Kerala’s last game through injury, are a few more inventive players that Kerala head coach Kibu Vicuna can call upon if needed.

"Chennaiyin played very well against Jamshedpur FC. They have one of the best offensive midfielders in the league in (Rafael) Crivellaro. They have some of the best who were very important last season. They have a very good team," Vicuna said ahead of the game.


Chennaiyin FC

Goalkeepers: Revanth BY, Vishal Kaith, Karanjit Singh, Samik Mitra.

Defenders: Lalchhuanmawia Fanai, Enes Sipovic, Reagan Singh, Eli Sabia, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Remi, Balaji Ganesan, Aqib Nawab, Deepak Tangri

Midfielders: Fatkhullo Fatkhuloev, Thoi Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Memo Moura, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Rafael Crivellaro, Abhijit Sarkar, Pandiyan Sinivasan, Germanpreet Singh, Dhanpal Ganesh, Edwin Vanspaul.

Forwards: Jakub Sylvestr, Aman Chetri, Rahim Ali, Esmael Goncalves.

Kerala Blasters FC

Goalkeepers: Albino Gomes, Bilal Husain Khan, Prabhsukhan Singh Gill, Muheet Khan.

Defenders: Costa Nhamoinesu, Nishu Kumar, Bakary Kone, Jessel Carneiro, Sandeep Singh, Abdul Hakku, Lalruatthara

Midfielders: Sergio Cidoncha, Sahal Abdul Samad, Vicente Gomez, Seityasen Singh, Rahul KP, Givson Singh, Lalthathanga Khawlhring, Yondrembem Denechandra, Nongdamba Naorem, Arjun Jayaraj, Ayush Adhikari, Jeakson Singh, Prasanth Karuthadathkuni, Ritwik Das, Rohit Kumar

Forwards: Gary Hooper, Jordan Murray, Facundo Pereyra, Naorem Mahesh Singh, Shaiborlang Kharpan.

Live Broadcast Schedule:

Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 11: Chennaiyin FC vs Kerala Blasters FC

Date: November 29 (Sunday)

Time: 7:30 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV


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