Kerala Blasters face Southern rivals Bengaluru FC in their third encounter in the Hero Indian Super League. Ivan Vukomanic’s side are desperately waiting for their first-ever win this season while Marco Pezzaiuoli’s Blues look for a positive response after suffering a shock loss against Odisha FC. The two rivals face off at the GMC Athletic Stadium on Sunday evening.
The Tuskers lost 4-2 to ATKMB and then were held on to a frustrating goalless draw against NorthEast United. While the Men in Blue won 4-2 against NorthEast, they lost 3-1 to the Juggernauts. Blasters are currently at 8th position whereas Bengaluru are 6th in the Hero ISL standings.
Will Vukomanovic lead his team towards their first victory this season or will the German gaffer Pezzaiuoli succeed in getting his team up and running again?
Kerala Blasters are one of the teams in the ISL having played most of the pre-season preparation alongside Durand Cup champions FC Goa. However, they found it difficult to play against one of the best teams in the league, ATK Mohun Bagan. Nevertheless, they have bounced back and despite an unlucky performance upfront, the defensive duo comprising of Marko Leskovic and Enes Sipovic have been outstanding.
The Kerala club have been impressive in most of their pre-season friendlies and would be thinking about their next match against one of their rivals, with whom they haven’t had much joy. 8 matches have been played between the two teams – Kerala winning twice and Bengaluru winning five times. In their most recent outing in the Durand Cup, they failed to win against the BFC reserves side and would be keen on getting an act of perfect revenge!
On the other hand, Bengaluru FC had a decent run in the Durand Cup as well as a 6-2 win against Maziya in the AFC Cup group stage, their best performance abroad. However, they were shocked by a new-look Odisha FC in the league to a frustrating 3-1 defeat.
It would be yet another display of attacking football as Pezzaiuoli’s style of play faces Vukomanovic’s new brand of attacking football. BFC have an edge over KBFC as most of their players have acclimatized in this league. However, in football, anything can happen!
Rahul KP is the major name missing out for at least four weeks after his injury coming against ATK Mohun Bagan. However, the good news for Ivan Vukomanovic is the return of Nishu Kumar, who is back from injury and might get the nod to start against his former club. The rest will be available for selection.
Whereas, Bengaluru FC have absentees such as Jayesh Rane and Leon Augustine who might not be available anywhere soon. According to the gaffer, Marco Pezzaiuoli, some players are down with fever while some are down with stomach issues and the rest are ready to play.
Kerala Blasters: Albino Gomes (GK), DF – Jessel Carneiro, Enes Sipovic, Marko Leskovic and Harmanjot Khabra; MF – Jeakson Singh and Lalthathanga Khawlhring; FW – Sahal Abdul Samad, Adrian Luna, Vincy Barretto and Alvaro Vazquez.
Bengaluru FC: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK), DF – Ashique Kuruniyan, Sarthak Golui, Alan Costa and Naorem Roshan Singh; MF- Suresh Singh Wangjam, Danish Farooq Bhat and Bruno Ramires; FW – Sunil Chhetri, Prince Ibara and Cleiton Silva.
Kerala Blasters 3 – 2 Bengaluru FC.
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