Fatorda Stadium, Goa
26th November 2014, 19:00 IST
Two teams on the rise will meet at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Wednesday, when FC Goa take on Kerala Blasters in a crunch Indian Super League (ISL) contest. Both sides head into the fixture on the back of victories; while Kerala edged out Atletico de Kolkata 2-1 in their previous outing last week, Goa brushed aside FC Pune City 2-0 at the weekend. And with just three points and a place separating the two teams, expect a cracker of a match in Goa. In addition, a win for either side will help them to consolidate their place in the coveted play-off spots.
Team News and Tactical Brief:
FC Goa have climbed up the ISL table, following their recent inspired performances. Zico’s side are unbeaten since suffering a 1-0 loss at the hands of the Kerala Blasters in the corresponding fixture earlier in the month. Goa have since picked up eight points from four games, courtesy of two wins and two draws, as the Reddes currently find themselves occupying the last play-off berth with 12 points from 10 outings. During this fruitful spell, FC Goa have managed to keep three clean sheets and conceded just a solitary goal. And with his side defending well and scoring more frequently now, Zico will be hopeful about Goa bagging the full three points against Kerala. FC Goa will be looking up to Tolgay Ozbey to breach a resolute Kerala defence, while centre-backs Youness Bengelloun and Gregory Arnolin have the habit of chipping in vital goals.
Probable Starting XI (4-1-4-1): Jan Seda, Debabrata Roy, Youness Bengelloun, Gregory Arnolin, Narayan Das, Bikramjit Singh, Romeo Fernandes, Robert Pires, Andre Santos, Mandar Rao Desai, Tolgay Ozbey
After a slow start to their ISL campaign, Kerala Blasters have managed to turn around their season dramatically. The Southern outfit, who are unbeaten in their last five outings, are currently third in the ISL table with 15 points from 10 games. The Blasters have managed to pick up 11 points from five games, courtesy of three wins and two draws, since going down 1-0 to Mumbai City FC on 2nd November. In addition, Kerala have thus far conceded just seven goals, the lowest in the ISL, with young Indian defender Sandesh Jhingan being a stand-out performer. However, David James’ side have often struggled to score, having found the back of the net just eight times. Kerala Blasters are therefore the least scoring team in the tournament, along with Mumbai. Canadian international Iain Hume is the franchise’s top goalscorer with three strikes to his name, and Kerala will be hoping about the 31-year-old striker delivering the goods against FC Goa.
Probable Starting XI: David James, Sandesh Jhingan, Cedric Hengbart, Gurwinder Singh, Saumik Dey, Stephen Pearson, Penn Orji, Pedro Gusmao, Godwin Franco, Iain Hume, Milagres Gonsalves
FC Goa 1 – 1 Kerala Blasters
It will be a keenly contested match in Goa, where both teams will be looking to avoid defeat at any costs. TheHardTackle predicts an entertaining draw for the match