Match 58 Preview: Kerala Blasters FC eyeing to maintain unbeaten run against spirited Odisha FC
Odisha FC will be up against Kerala Blasters FC in their Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 match at the Tilak Maidan Stadium, in Vasco, on Wednesday.
Odisha FC would be eager to build on the morale-boosting win over Mumbai City FC in the previous game and get right back into the top four, while Kerala Blasters FC, already on a nine-match unbeaten run, can only hope to extend it further and cement their place in the semi-final spots.
The side lost three, won once and shared the spoils once in their last five matches in the league. It was after four matches that Odisha FC went back to winning ways by virtue of an inspiring 4-2 win over defending champions Mumbai City FC. In the nine matches played so far, they have won four matches and lost an equal number of times, with them currently in the 7th spot, collecting 13 points so far in the process.
Kerala Blasters FC
The Blasters are unbeaten in their last five matches, having won three and drawn two in the same time frame. Ivan Vukomanovic’s side stormed to the top of the league table after a 1-0 win over Hyderabad FC in the previous game. They have now collected 17 points from 10 matches played, with four wins, five losses and a draw to their name.
Odisha FC: Head coach Kiko Ramirez mentioned that some of his players are facing fitness issues but refused to reveal names. The management will take a call on their inclusion closer to kick-off.
Kerala Blasters FC: Captain Jessel Carneiro is injured and ruled out of the match. Rest all the players are available for selection.
Head to Head
There has been little to choose between the two teams in the past as three out of the five encounters between Odisha FC and Kerala Blasters FC have ended in draws.
Both teams have recorded a win each in this fixture.
It's a fixture that sees goals and it averages over four goals per game. The Blasters won the reverse fixture 2-1 for their first win of the Hero ISL 2021-22 season.
Aridai Suarez: The joint highest goalscorer for Odisha FC in the ISL 2021-22 season and also their main threat, Aridai Suarez will again hold the cards for his side in the upcoming game. It was the Spanish forward that struck the opening goal against Mumbai City FC and set the tone for the rest of the game. Having already netted four times this season, the striker needs to pile up on the tally and help his team secure their fifth win of the season.
Jerry Mawihmingthanga: The emphatic show by the footballer in the previous game helped Jerry Mawihmingthanga gain instant spotlight and now possibly a regular spot in the starting XI from now on. A brace from the forward aided Odisha FC to crawl back from a one-goal deficit to bag three points from the encounter. Omnipresent on the wings with his speedy runs, Jerry is expected to haunt the defence when he takes the field against Kerala Blasters FC.
Kerala Blasters FC
Alvaro Vazquez: The Spanish striker is finally making his opportunities count, as was evident from the winner he scored in the previous game against Chennaiyin FC. But, with just three strikes from nine matches, the stats do not justify how big a player he is and the fanfare with which he was roped in ahead of the season. However, with him treated to a lot of game time, Vazquez is expected to unleash his potential as the days pass.
Adrian Luna: There’s no way we can ignore this player. Arguably the best foreign signing in the Hero ISL this season, alongside Greg Stewart, the playmaker has been the heart and soul of almost all the attacks for Kerala Blasters FC. With two goals and four assists to his name, Luna has already sent ripples across the league and we are set to witness some more when his side takes on Odisha FC in the much anticipated clash.
Blasters' unbeaten run
Kerala Blasters are on a 9 match unbeaten run. This is their longest unbeaten run in their history and the longest such run by any team in Hero ISL 21-22.
Odisha FC, a second-half team?
Odisha have scored 12 goals in the second half. The joint-most by a team this season along with Hyderabad. 10 of their last 12 goals scored have come in the second half. Ramirez's men have scored the most goals in the final 15-minute period of matches in Hero ISL 21-22 (8).
Odisha FC's set-piece woes
Odisha have conceded 12 set piece goals in Hero ISL 21-22, the most by a team this season. 5 of those 12 set piece goals have been conceded from corners. No team has conceded more from corners than Odisha.
Two of the last three goals scored by Kerala Blasters have come from set pieces. They have, however, scored the joint fewest goals from set pieces along with Chennaiyin (4).
Match timings and telecast details
Match: Odisha FC vs Kerala Blasters FC
Date: 12th January 2022
Venue: Tilak Maidan Stadium, Vasco
Kick-off time: 7.30 pm
Telecast: Star Sports 3, Star Sports 1 regional channels - Tamil, Bengali, Kannada, Telugu
Online Streaming: Disney+Hotstar and JioTV.