Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi
9th November, 19:00 IST
With just a point separating Kerala Blasters from Delhi Dynamos in the Indian Super League (ISL), the game between the two teams at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Sunday is expected to be a cracker of a contest. Kerala, who edged out FC Goa 1-0 on Thursday, have won two of their last three matches after a slow start to their ISL campaign. Delhi on the other hand will head into the weekend’s fixture on the back of two consecutive losses, which have made them slither down the ISL table. Hence the game in Kochi holds huge importance for both teams, who will be desperate to move closer to the coveted top-four spots.
Team News and Tactical Brief:
After losing their opening two ISL fixtures, Kerala have managed to pick up seven points from their next four outings. David James’ side recorded their second ISL win after defeating FC Goa earlier in the week at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the franchise’s home ground. It was Kerala’s first home game of the tournament and the Blasters made a good account of themselves in front of their passionate and vociferous fans. Incidentally, Kerala also managed to keep their first clean sheet of the tournament in that game which is sure to boost the confidence of the team’s back-four and James himself. However, the hero of the match was Milagres Gonsalves, who scored the winner in the 64th minute, just eight minutes after coming on as a substitute. The victory over Goa showed that Kerala have the quality to win games even without the likes of Iain Hume and Michael Chopra; and the Kochi-based franchise will be keen to build on the victory by coming out with another positive result in their backyard against Delhi.
Probable Starting XI (4-4-2): David James, Sandesh Jhingan, Cedric Hengbart, Colin Falvey, Saumik Dey, Stephen Pearson, Penn Orji, Avinabo Bag, Ishfaq Ahmed, Iain Hume, Milagres Gonsalves
Delhi Dynamos are struggling in the ISL after a good start to the campaign. Harm van Veldhoven’s side, who were undefeated in their first four games, have now lost two consecutive matches, with the latest loss coming in the form of a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Mumbai City on Wednesday. Despite having the likes of Alessandro Del Piero and Mads Junker in their ranks, Delhi have not been decisive in front of goal. Barring their 4-1 triumph over Chennaiyin FC last month, the Dynamos have managed to score just two goals in their other five games, with Juventus legend Del Piero yet to find the back of the net. So it is safe to say that Delhi’s major troubles lie upfront, and Van Veldhoven need to rectify the problems as soon as possible to help his side climb up to the top-half of the ISL table. But most importantly, Delhi need to arrest their losing streak and start accumulating points, and a draw away from home against Kerala will be a good start in that direction.
Probable Starting XI (4-1-4-1): Kristof Van Hout, Wim Raymaekers, Stijn Houben Anwar Ali, Shouvik Ghosh, Steven Dias, Souvik Chakraborty, Adil Khan, Hans Mulder, Gustavo Marmentini, Mads Junker
Kerala Blasters 1-o Delhi Dynamos
Kerala, who will be upbeat after their win over FC Goa, are favourites to win the contest at their home ground.