Match 38 Preview: Upbeat Kerala Blasters FC face stiff Chennaiyin FC challenge in southern derby
Chennaiyin FC will be up against Kerala Blasters FC in their Hero Indian Super League (ISL) match at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco, Goa on Wednesday.
The Chennai based side edged past Odisha FC 2-1 in their previous match to register their third win of the season, while Kerala Blasters FC scripted a remarkable 3-0 win over league leaders and defending champions Mumbai City FC to climb up the table.
The Bozidar Bandovic coached side have won two, drawn two and lost one in their last five matches this season. Having remained unbeaten in the first four matches, the side lost by a solitary goal to league leaders Mumbai City FC, but bounced back pretty well against a struggling Odisha FC side to put themselves back in the top-four race.
Kerala Blasters FC
The Blasters are unbeaten in their last five matches, having won two and shared the spoils on the remaining three occasions. After a shaky start to the season, Ivan Vukomanovic’s boys are finally making their opportunities count, as was evident from the inspiring win over Mumbai City FC in the previous game.
Head to Head
Touted as the ‘Southern Derby’, Chennaiyin FC and Kerala Blasters FC have played 16 matches amongst themselves in the history of the Hero ISL. The Kochi based side have won only three of those matches, while their rivals have walked away with top honours on six occasions. Seven of the remaining matches of this fixture have ended in a draw.
There are no injury concerns for Chennaiyin FC apart from Rafael Crivellaro, who is yet to play this season and will remain out of action for the upcoming game.
Kerala Blasters FC
Jorge Pereyra Diaz, who scored the third goal against Mumbai City FC in the last game, suffered a muscle inflammation after a kick on the ankle, but the injury is not serious. He will be available for tomorrow’s game.
Vladimir Koman: The most influential player for Chennaiyin FC this season, having pulled the strings from the heart of the midfield. Even in the previous game, Koman completed a total of 74 passes, at a rate of 88%, which speaks for itself. During the same time, the Hungarian footballer created chances as well as help out in the defence. His contributions will prove crucial for his side’s fate in the upcoming game.
Lallianzuala Chhangte: The winger had a busy game against Odisha FC, with him in the thick of things of most of the attacks initiated by Chennaiyin FC. Creating two chances and also providing an assist in the previous game, Chhangte would be disappointed not to get his name on the scoresheet despite receiving clear-cut opportunities. The speedy footballer would be eager to register his second goal of the season, when he takes the field in the upcoming game.
Kerala Blasters FC
Alvaro Vazquez: The Spanish striker was already tipped to be one of the top signings ahead of the season and after a slow start, the returns are more visible. With a brilliant strike against Mumbai City FC, Vazquez sealed three points for his side, guiding them right back into the championship race. With three goals from six matches so far, the forward would be aiming to add more to the tally when they take on Chennaiyin FC in the upcoming game.
Jeakson Singh: A silent warrior in the midfield, Singh has been one of their most consistent players and provided ample support to Adrian Luna. The 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup star has completed 249 passes in six matches, which is the second most by any player in the team. Apart from which, he’s been proactive in defensive roles as well, having made 29 tackles, 14 interceptions, 9 clearances and 7 blocks. The 20-year old is definitely a footballer to watch out for.
Recent head to head form: Kerala Blasters FC have failed to register a win against their rivals in their last four head to head matches, having lost two and drawn an equal number of matches. The last time Kerala Blasters defeated Chennaiyin FC was back on 15th February, 2019.
Milestones: Anirudh Thapa needs one assist to become the highest ever assist provider for Chennaiyin FC, he is currently tied with Rafael Crivellaro at 9 each. On the other hand, Jessel Carneiro also requires one to surpass Josu Preito, who is jointly the top assist provider for Kerala Blasters FC at the moment with 6 to his name.
Chennaiyin FC’s contrasting tale: The two-time ISL winners have conceded just four goals so far, which is the least by any team this season. On the flip side, they have scored just 6 times in as many matches, which is also the least by any of the side’s playing in the league.
Match timings and telecast details
Match: Chennaiyin FC vs Kerala Blasters FC
Date: 22nd December
Venue: Tilak Maidan Stadium, Vasco
Kick-off time: 7.30 pm
Telecast: Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD, Star Sports 3, Hindi Commentary on Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 Hindi HD, Star Sports 1 regional channels - Tamil, Bengali, Kannada, Telugu
Online Streaming: Disney+Hotstar and JioTV.