Kerala Blasters FC
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai
Kick off – 1900 IST
Chennaiyin FC kick off their first home match in the Indian Super League at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium as they welcome the side from Kerala. Tipped as the ‘South Indian’ Derby- the match already is arted high in the vital meter. The side from the state of Tamil Nadu clinched a surprise win in their previous encounter against FC Goa at Fatorda. Their opponents, Kerala Blasters surprisingly lost their first game after sharing lions share of stats. The Sachin Tendulkar owned franchise is in dire need of some points from this game as the team from Kerala is lodged at the bottom of the table.
Team News and Tactical Brief:
MS Dhoni/Abhishek Bachchan co-owned franchise will hope to entertain large crowds in Chennai for their first match as the team gears up amidst brouhaha around foriegn players and their contracts. Former Manchester United midfielder Eric Djemba Djemba and Jean-Eudes Maurice- former Paris-Saint Germain forward. Both Pierre Tillman and Spanish striker Eduardo Silva Lerma deboarded the Chennai bandwagon after some contractual issues.
One of the youngest team in the league will once again be looking at Bracigliano to take up the custodian role. Marquee player Silvestre will once agian be lodged in the centre back position alongwith compatriot Bernard Mendy in a three man backline. Former India international Gouramangi Singh, who had a robust game in Goa is also expected to partner the french pair at the back. Elano- who scored a sumptuous free kick which eventually turned out to be the winner- once again will look to orchestrate the midfield. Abhishek Das could be treading the right flank with former Prayag United player Dhana taking the left flank. Denson Devadas will take the central role in the middle with Balwant Singh and Bruno Pelissari upfront. It is still to be seen whether Coach Marco Materazzi fields himself in the defence in front of the home crowd.
Expected Starting Line-up: Bracigliano (GK); Mendy, Silvestere, Gouramangi Singh; Elano, A.Das, Dordic, Dhana, Devadas, Balwant Singh, Bruno.
Kerala Blasters FC:
David James’ side clearly would not be happy with their current standing in the league table. The former England international made some outstanding saves to deny the North East United attack last time and will be expected to start under the bar once again. Kerala leaked in a cheap goal in their previous encounter and now when the team has had enough time to learn from it’s mistakes – defence is expeted to tighten up. Andrew Barisic- one of the tallest defenders in the league is expected to partner Nirmal Chettri at the back. Avinabo Bag has earned his place on the left flank with French Hengbart taking the right fullback role.
Nigerian Penn Orji will be once again be slotted in the middle to do the dirty work and put in a hardworking shift. Indian international Mehtab Hossain- also known as double cylinder among East Bengal faithful is expected to start his second consecutive game. James is once again expected to go in with a 4-4-2 formation with Pearson fizzing in crosses from the right flank to find CS Sabeeth and Hume who are are once again expected to make the team sheet.
Expected Starting Line-up: James(GK); Hengbart, Chettri, Bag; Gurwinder Singh, Mehtab, Orji, CS Sabeeth, Humi.
Chennaiyin FC 2 – 1 Kerala Blasters
Elano and Balwant Singh could turn the match in the favor of Marco Materazzi’s team as they look to entertain a huge crowd at Chennai’s JLN stadia. Chennai- just like Delhi has been eagerly awaiting some top notch football action- and the crowd could play an essential role in this South Indian derby.