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Indian Super League

ISL 2021-22: Can Kerala Blasters break winless streak against NorthEast United?

4:12 AM GMT 25/11/2021
Jorge Pereyra Diaz Kerala Blasters ISL 8
The Kochi-based team are looking to bounce back from an opening-game defeat...

Kerala Blasters are geared up to face NorthEast United FC in their second match of the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Fatorda Stadium on Thursday evening. After a horrid start to their league campaign, courtesy a 4-2 defeat to ATK Mohun Bagan, they are looking to get three points against the Highlanders.

However, one must note that NorthEast United FC are unbeaten in their last six matches against Kerala Blasters FC, winning twice and drawing on four other occasions. It was in the 2017-18 season that Blasters last triumphed over NorthEast. In that match, CK Vineeth scored the winner while NorthEast goalkeeper TP Rehenesh was given marching orders.

In the previous edition under Kibu Vicuna, the Yellow Army raced to a 2-0 lead at halftime with goals from Sergio Cidoncha and Gary Hooper. But their smiles vanished at full time as Kwesi Appiah and Idrisa Sylla scored one each to steal a point. Meanwhile, in the reverse fixture, NorthEast played some brilliant football under the guidance of Khalid Jamil to trounce them 2-0.

Nonetheless, Blasters fans can take solace from the fact that NorthEast have also lost the opening fixture and Jamil has still some work to do with the squad. But the injury to Rahul KP is a serious blow to Ivan Vukomanovic. The Serbian manager wants to play an attacking brand of football and believes in the philosophy of scoring one more than the opponent.

“That’s the way I want to play (having more control) and that’s the way I think about football because I like to attack. Then, the destiny of attack changes along with of course (being able to) control the game and avoiding these moments where we concede easy goals. So, we have to work on these kinds of things and I hope we’ll be better in the next game. For the next game, we’ll try to play a good and well-organized one — one which we can control, create nice chances, and scoring opportunities," he stated.

Here are five interesting stats about the two teams

  1. The only previous time that these two sides met on a Thursday was in November last year when the game ended in a 2-2 draw.
  2. NorthEast United FC have managed a possession rate of 44% since the beginning of the 2019/20 season of the Indian Super League, the lowest rate amongst all teams during the period.
  3. No keeper has conceded more goals from penalties since the beginning of last season during the league stages than Kerala Blasters custodian Albino Gomes (5), however, he has also saved more penalties than any other keeper (3).
  4. NorthEast United FC’s Federico Gallego has recorded 14 big chances created in the league stage since the start of the 2020/21 ISL season, the highest by any player during this period.
  5. Kerala Blasters are winless in their last nine matches in the Indian Super League (D4 L5).

Source: OptaJeev