Bengaluru looking to seal play-off qualification with victory over Kerala

Bengaluru looking to seal play-off qualification

In a battle between the southern powerhouses, Bengaluru FC plays host to Kerala Blasters FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

Both sides have had contrasting fortunes over the course of the season. Bengaluru have undoubtedly established themselves as the team to beat with their commanding displays, while Kerala have had a horrid campaign mired with a series of poor results. The Blues ran out on top in the reverse fixture earlier in the campaign after an unfortunate own goal from Nkiloa Krcmarevic in the latter stages of the match.

Bengaluru FC

Despite going down to Mumbai City during their first match of the new year, Bengaluru are still well on course to qualify for the play-offs. The Blues have a comfortable three-point lead at the top with an extra game in hand. However, they will not take things lightly since a victory almost certainly books their spot in the play-offs. They will also take confidence from their perfect record of three wins from three matches against Kerala.

Ahead of the tie against Kerala, Carles Cuadrat will be hoping that his star striker Miku returns to fitness. The Venezuelan forward has been dearly missed by the Bengaluru faithful, but it remains to be seen when he’ll make a comeback to the starting line-up from injury. With Chencho Gyeltshen loaned out, there will be added pressure on the likes of Sunil Chhetri and Udanta Singh to find the back of the net. Chhetri, in particular, will be itching to get on the scoresheet after going on a seven-match barren run. Nevertheless, against a disjointed and jittery Kerala side, Chhetri and Co. will consider themselves as favourites for maximum points.

Kerala Blasters FC

Things are going from bad to worse for the men in yellow. Despite appointing Nelo Vingada as head coach, there does not seem to be any improvement in the side’s results. After picking up a point against ATK at home, Kerala were beaten by Delhi Dynamos. With a spot in the play-offs out of the question, the only thing Kerala are playing for is pride. A victory might also see the fans renew their faith in the team after a series of poor performances.

However, against the league’s best team, a victory will not be easy by any means. Kerala have failed to pick up a point in any of their previous encounters against Bengaluru. Unless they drastically improve their performances, that statistic does not look like changing anytime soon. The biggest cause for concern though has been their finishing. Despite creating a total of 139 chances, Kerala have found the back of the net on only 13 occasions. Against a team like Bengaluru, forwards like Slavisa Stojanovic and Seiminlen Doungel need to make things count when presented the opportunity.

PROBABLE LINE-UPS:

BENGALURU FC: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK), Rino Anto, Juanan, Albert Serran, Rahul Bheke, Erik Paartalu, Dimas Delgado, Udanta Singh, Harmanjot Khabra, Kean Lewis, Sunil Chhetri (C)

KERALA BLASTERS FC: Dheeraj Singh (GK), Cyril Kali, Nemanja Lakic-Pesic, Sandesh Jhingan (C), Mohamad Rakip, Nikola Krcmarevic, Sahal Abdul Samad, Slavisa Stojanvoic, Seiminlen Doungel, Prashant K, Matej Poplatik

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Bengaluru have won all their three matches against Kerala, scoring seven goals and conceding just twice.
  • Kerala are on a 13-match winless run. After winning their first match, they have drawn seven and lost six.
  • Even if Kerala win their next four matches, they will end up having three points less than what they accumulated last season (25).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *