The Marina Machans are coming from a 2-1 victory out playing Odisha FC, courtesy to goals from German Singh and Mirlan Murzaev while the men in yellow unanimously brought down table-toppers Mumbai City FC in a 0-3 scoreline with goals from Sahal Abdul Samad, Jorge Diaz and Alvaro Vazquez. The neighbours are standing next door in the points table as Chennaiyin holds the fourth position with eleven points while Kerala Blasters are at sixth place, both from six games. The two sides are also coming from a tight schedule with just a two or three day gap since their previous games. Kerala is unbeaten in their last five games while Chennaiyin has only lost to Mumbai this season, whom the Blasters just defeated before this fixture.
Enes Sipovic will not be available against his former side due to his injury against SC East Bengal, which forces him to stay out for two weeks. Even though Jorge Diaz had an injury during the last game, head coach Ivan confirmed that he is available for the game against Chennaiyin.
Chennaiyin’s Rafael Crivellaro has also not fully recovered to resume.
THREE INDIAN PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
The Chennaiyin captain is one of the consistent players of the team, who has been responsible for some key moments of his side. The national team midfielder is also just an assist away from becoming the all-time top assist provider for Chennaiyin. The 23-year-old added his name to the scoresheet this season once and will be looking to score more.
The U-17 World Cup goal scorer is seen as a major link between the defense and attack of Kerala Blasters and has been consistently improving. The 20-year-old has represented the men in yellow in 35 matches so far and has also been included in all of the matches this season. Jeakson is also known to be crucial in set-piece goals with his powerful headers, which can be a brilliant option against Chennaiyin’s defense.
Sahal Abdul Samad
Sahal is finally giving answers through his game as the prolific attacker seems to have finally found his key to scoring goals. He has already scored two and has been deadly while playing in the central role. We can expect the same chemistry from Sahal and Diaz like the last game.
THREE FOREIGN PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
Chennaiyin’s main man at back has been the hero for the teams’ defense till now. The 29-year-old Serbian centre back also jams well with the Indian defenders like Narayan Das and it will be a tough test for Kerala Blasters to compete against a clinical defense.
The last games’ long-range goal star is also one of the consistent players of the team. The Kyrgyzstan international pairs up well with Chhangte in the wings to fuel some crucial attacks, which can be lethal for Kerala if not stopped.
Marco Leskovic and Ruivah Hormipam had a good partnership at the back during the absence of Enes Sipovic and the two have managed to keep the nifty attackers of Mumbai at bay, earning a clean sheet as well. A solid force at the back with every game passing, he will be crucial in stopping Chennaiyin’s attempts.
KERALA BLASTERS FC
HEAD TO HEAD
The two-time champions and 2016 finalists have locked horns a total of sixteen times in the ISL where Chennaiyin has had the upper hand, winning six times.
Blasters have only managed to defeat their opponents three times while the spoils were shared at seven instances.
The Kochi based side started with a loss but they have been building momentum ever since which was visible in the last game against Mumbai City FC. Chennaiyin has a similar mentality and it will be interesting to see Chennaiyin’s defensive wall taking on Kerala’s attacks. The game will be entertaining and we predict Kerala Blasters a 2-0 win over Chennaiyin FC.
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