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ISL 2017-18: Mohammed Rafi, the veteran who loves headers

4:28 AM WAT 22/02/2018
Mohammed Rafi Kerala Blasters FC Atletico de Kolkata ISL final season 3 2016
Rafi, who is currently with Chennaiyin FC, headed into the net for Kerala Blasters when they faced ATK in the final of Indian Super League last season

Mohammed Rafi plied his trade at clubs such as SBT and Mahindra United before going on loan to Kolkata-based Indian Super League team ATK in the inaugural edition of the competition in 2014.

Although he failed to score while at ATK, Rafi has since notched eight Indian Super League goals. Six of them have from his two-season stay at Kerala Blasters before joining John Gregory's Chennaiyin FC in 2017. This season, the Keralite has scored two goals for the Marina Machans. 

Out of his eight ISL goals, seven have been headers. A 46th-minute left-footed strike for Kerala Blasters against FC Goa on October 24. 2016 remains the only goal the former Mahindra United striker has scored with his feet in ISL.

He opened his account for Kerala Blasters in a 3-1 win over NorthEast United in the 2015 season opener in Kochi. A Rahul Bheke cross was flicked towards the far post by Carvalho for Rafi to kick-off his trend of scoring headers. 

Bheke turned provider again as Rafi headed in his second in a 1-2 defeat against Goa two weeks later. In the 2-3 defeat to Pune City on October 27, 2015, Rafi picked up a first-half brace and both were headed goals. 

Rafi scored two crucial goals for Blasters last season, including a header in the final against ATK.  This season, he has picked up from where he left off despite a change of clubs.

The 35-year-old striker has scored some important goals throughout his career. He scored late in the game against NorthEast United earlier this season before saving Chennayin FC's blushes in their last game against Jamshedpur with an 88th-minute header to end the game 1-1. Will Rafi rise above Sandesh Jhingan and Wes Brown to cause trouble for his former team Kerala Blasters on Friday?