Match 35 Preview: Kerala Blasters, SC East Bengal vie for first win of the season

Both Kerala Blasters FC and SC East Bengal will be looking to register their first victory of the season when they play each other in Match 35 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim in Super Sunday’s second game.             

Kerala Blasters and SC East Bengal are among three teams that have not tasted victory in the ongoing season yet. While Kerala have drawn two and lost three, SC East Bengal have drawn one and lost four.

It’s very clear both teams are desperate to win on Sunday but Kerala might fancy themselves against an opponent who have been found wanting in both defence and attack. SC East Bengal, under Robbie Fowler, have scored just two goals in their five matches so far but have conceded five times over.

After failing to score in their first four games, they managed to break their goal-drought against Hyderabad FC in their last game through two goals from Jacques Maghoma but they weren’t enough to take them over the line as Manuel Marquez’s men won 3-2.

In defence, Scott Neville, Mohamed Irshad and Narayan Das need to up the ante if SC East Bengal are to get a favourable result. Maghoma and Anthony Pilkington had a good game in the middle of the park against Hyderabad but their combination could only be more potent if CK Vineeth and Jeje Lalpekhlua do what is expected of them up front.

"We have to go out there with the correct attitude and thinking that we can beat everyone and things will change. We have got to work hard. It's been a difficult start in terms of results. But we will soldier on and do what we need to do. We will prepare properly for the next game. We're doing everything we can to try and turn a corner," Fowler said ahead of the game.

Kerala Blasters aren’t much different from their rivals. Yes, they have performed better in attack with five goals but when it comes to defending, they have been equally woeful having conceded 10 goals. In their last game against Bengaluru FC, they suffered a heavy 4-2 defeat and their defence was particularly all over the place.

The duo of Bakary Kone and Nishu Kumar need to improve heavily at the back for a successful campaign. The return of Costa Nhamoinesu from suspension may just provide the boost Kerala’s backline need at present. In attack, Gary Hooper, Facundo Pereyra and Jordan Murray have flattered to deceive so far and they will have to pull up their socks as quickly as possible and work in tandem with their midfield that has credible names like Vicente Gomez, Rahul KP and Jeakson Singh.   

“In football when you don't have good results, you lose confidence. The best way is to get a good result. We have to keep the fighting spirit to change the situation and hopefully, the results will come. We have a plan A, B and C. According to the match, we change that,” Kerala head coach Kibu Vicuna said ahead of the game.

Squads:

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.

SC East Bengal

Goalkeepers: Debjit Majumder, Sankar Roy, Mirshad Michu, Rafique Ali

Defenders: Samad Mallick, Abhishek Ambekar, Daniel Fox, Scott Neville, Narayan Das, Mohamed Irshad, Gurtej Singh, N Rohen Singh, Lalramchullova, Rana Gharami, Anil Chawan

Midfielders: Sehnaj Singh, Matti Steinmann, Jacques Maghoma, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Wahengbam Luwang, Bikash Jairu, Yumnam Singh, Surchandra Singh, Loken Meitei, Mohammed Rafique, Aaron Amadi-Holloway, Anthony Pilkington, Milan Singh, Haobam Singh

Forwards: Balwant Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua, CK Vineeth, Girik Khosla, Harmanpreet Singh

Live Broadcast Schedule:

Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 35: Kerala Blasters FC vs SC East Bengal

Date: December 20 (Sunday)

Time: 7:30 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV

 

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