Preview: East Bengal FC lock horns with upbeat Kerala Blasters FC
Kerala Blasters FC gear up for their second away fixture of the season against a determined East Bengal FC side.
Kerala Blasters FC will step out of their home turf in Kochi to take on East Bengal FC at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 on Saturday. The Blasters have won three of their first five games, but they will play an away fixture only for the second time in this campaign.
The Red and Gold Brigade have twice now given away a one-goal lead to lose the game by 2-1, first against Bengaluru FC and then in front of FC Goa on October 21.
The Blasters lost their latest meeting with East Bengal (0-1 on February 3, 2023) in the ISL, ending a five-game unbeaten run against them. It was also the first time Kerala had failed to score against the Red and Gold Brigade in an ISL game, something that they will look to avoid in the coming fixture.
What’s at stake?
East Bengal FC
The Carles Cuadrat-coached side has dropped six points from winning positions in ISL 2023-24 and that has left them on the ninth spot in the standings despite delivering improved performances under the new tactician. They will hope to ward off those tendencies in front of their home fans against an in-form Kerala unit.
Kerala Blasters FC
Kerala Blasters FC have performed tremendously in Kochi so far, but playing at the Salt Lake Stadium will put forth a fresh set of challenges to them. The team will be edging to prove their mettle on the road too, and a statement win in Kolkata will do a world of good for their prospects in this season.
Naorem Mahesh Singh (East Bengal FC)
Naorem Mahesh Singh has netted in consecutive games, with both goals coming in the first-half through assists by Nandhakumar Sekar. He has created 1.5 goal-scoring opportunities per game this season, and this all-round attacking output will again be at the forefront of the East Bengal attacking moves on Saturday.
Danish Farooq (Kerala Blasters FC)
The 27-year-old midfielder has scored twice in five appearances in ISL 2023-24, which is already better than the solitary strike he managed in 16 matches last season. Danish has made clever runs into the box from the middle of the park to convert half chances into goals, and he will aim to strike thrice in a row with another such effort in the coming game.
Played – 6
East Bengal FC – 1
Kerala Blasters FC – 2
Trivia: Nandhakumar Sekar has created five goal-scoring chances and bagged two assists in four appearances in this campaign.
“What we have to change is that we have to be defensively stronger. In the past seasons in the ISL, my teams have gotten a lot of clean sheets, which we have failed so far this season. We are working on this. If you see most of our games, the opponent team is creating chances and it is coming from set-pieces, so we have to work on stopping that. We need to stop letting opponents create a lot of chances,” East Bengal FC head coach Carles Cuadrat said ahead of the fixture.
“For us every game is very hard, very difficult whether we are playing at home, or away. East Bengal has a very good team with a very good coach. They have had a nice season and did well in the Durand Cup too. I think many clubs, almost all the clubs, are still finding the moment of finding themselves, solutions, even though we are five games in the season, but I think all teams will start playing normal and good football from January,” Kerala Blasters FC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic said in the pre-match press conference.
ISL Fantasy: Top picks & players to watch out for
Cleiton Silva (8cr)
Two goals in four appearances for the Brazilian striker
Naorem Mahesh Singh (7.2cr)
Scored once each in the last couple of games
Adrian Luna (10.4cr)
Three goals and an assist to Adrian Luna’s name in five appearances this season
Where to Watch
Viacom18 is the new home of Indian football and the match between East Bengal FC and Kerala Blasters FC will kick off at 8 PM on November 4, 2023. Fans across the country can catch the action in English, Hindi, Bengali, and Malayalam. Fans can watch the action on linear channels like Sports18 Khel (Hindi), Sports18 1 SD & HD (English), VH1 SD & HD (English), Surya Movies (Malayalam), DD Bangla & Colors Bangla Cinema (Bengali). In addition to this, as part of FSDL’s partnership with OneFootball, ISL live streams and highlights of all matches of the upcoming 2023-24 season will be delivered across more than 190 countries.
If not registered already, fans can participate in the overall league or club-based leagues based on their preferences. Create private leagues, inviting friends and fellow football aficionados to compete. Prizes include a Sony PlayStation®️5 gaming console, EA Sports FC 24, signed club merchandise, and a Gift Card worth INR 20,000, which will be awarded to 100 winners at the end of the season.
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