Match 76 Preview: Red-hot Bengaluru FC look to halt the Kerala Blasters FC juggernaut

Kerala Blasters FC clash against their southern rivals Bengaluru FC in matchday 76 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco da Gama, Goa.

The Blasters take the field after a 17-day enforced break due to Covid-19 cases in the team. The Tuskers played their last game on January 12 against Odisha FC in what was a 0-2 victory, with strikes from Nishu Kumar and Harmanjot Khabra.

Meanwhile, Bengaluru FC are picking up the pace after their resounding 3-0 victory over rivals Chennaiyin FC in their last outing. 

The Kochi-based outfit will look to get back to winning ways after a long hiatus, but the Blues might have other plans for them as they have been unbeaten for the last seven matches.

Form Guide

Kerala Blasters FC: WDDWW

With two games in hand, Ivan Vukomanovic’s men sit second placed in the league standings with 20 points, registering five wins, five draws, and just one loss. The Blasters are yet to lose a single game after they lost in their inaugural game against ATK Mohun Bagan in the season opener.

Bengaluru FC: WDWDW

The Blues are sixth in the league table with 17 points in 13 games, picking up four wins, five draws, and four losses. Chhetri and co. extended their unbeaten run to seven games after their last match’s success.

Team News

In the Bengaluru FC camp, Gurpreet Sandhu and Sarthak Golui are out of quarantine, they will train on Saturday. Prince Ibara and Yrondu Musavu-King are not available while Leon Augustine has sustained a long-term injury. Ajay Chhetri will miss out because he was in quarantine for almost 30 days, he has lost a lot of muscle weight and same is the case with Ajith Kamaraj.

Head-To-Head

The two sides have shared the field nine times, with Bengaluru FC winning five of the encounters and Kerala Blasters FC winning just two. The Tuskers have not kept a clean sheet in any of their matches against the Blues in this competition. Their previous meeting in this season ended in a 1-1 draw in match 11.

Key Stats

Kerala Blasters FC’s defensive fortress

Kerala Blasters have kept more clean sheets than any other team this season with five clean sheets in their 11 matches so far. No team has conceded fewer goals than Kerala Blasters FC in the Hero ISL 2021-22 season (10).

Bengaluru FC racking up the goals

Bengaluru are dangerous from set pieces and have scored the most goals from set piece situations this season (12). They have also scored the most goals from corners this season (7). Around 65% of their goals they scored this season have come during their unbeaten run. 15 of their 23 goals this season have come in the last 7 matches.

Key Players

Kerala Blasters FC

Prabhsukhan Gill: The custodian has made eight appearances this season and kept four clean sheets so far. Gill is one of only two keepers to have kept more than two clean sheets this season. The other one being TP Rehnesh. Gill has conceded only five goals in his eight matches this season. Considering keepers who played five or more matches, he has conceded the fewest goals this season.

Adrian Luna: The midfielder has provided six assists in 11 matches this season for his side. He sits at the top of the assist leaderboard along with Ahmed Jahouh and Greg Stewart. With six assists, he sits at the joint top for most assists in Kerala Blasters FC history along with Jessel Carneiro and Josu Prieto. With eight goal contributions in the league this season, no Kerala Blasters FC player has more goal contributions than him this season.

Bengaluru FC

Udanta Singh: The forward has been involved in four goals this season, scrong three goals and one assist. Singh has 11 goals in the Hero ISL. He is now one of only three Indian players to have more than 10 assists and 10 goals in this competition.

Suni Chhetri: The forward will be facing a side he enjoys playing against. He has played ten matches against Kerala Blasters FC and has scored five goals and provided one assist. After no goal contributions in his first 11 matches of the season, Sunil Chhetri has hit form at the right time for the Blues and has provided two goal contributions in his last two matches.

Match timings and telecast details

Match: Kerala Blasters FC vs Bengaluru FC

Date: 30th January 2022

Venue: Tilak Maidan Stadium, Vasco da Gama, Goa

Kick-off time: 7.30 pm

Telecast: Star Sports Network

Online Streaming: Disney+Hotstar and JioTV.

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