ISL 2023/24 – Kerala & Odisha lock horns amidst slumping form


The ISL league schedule matches have concluded, with Mohun Bagan SG securing the league shield for the first time in five years. The Indian football season is reaching its peak, with Mohammedan clinching the I-League title, Bagan claiming the ISL Shield, and SC Bengaluru emerging victorious in the I-League 2. Bagan had previously secured the Durand, while East Bengal won the Super Cup. The question now looms: which team will be the next to lift a trophy this season?

The knockout phase begins tomorrow, with Kerala Blasters FC facing off against Odisha FC at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. This match holds significant importance, as the victor will secure a spot in the season’s first semi-final clash against the defending champions, Mohun Bagan.

Recent form of Kerala Blasters and Odisha in ISL

Kerala Blasters FC is currently facing a tough phase in the latter part of the season. They started as potential ISL contenders but are now in a situation where everything depends on their performance in the game on hand. This transition has been difficult for Ivan Vukomanovic and his team, especially considering the injuries to key players. In their last five games, Kerala Blasters have conceded 12 goals without managing to keep a clean sheet. Moreover, since February, they’ve only secured three wins out of 10 games. Despite these challenges, they head into their next match with confidence following a convincing 3-1 win against Hyderabad FC in their previous league fixture.

Odisha FC enters this match carrying the burden of a 3-0 loss to Northeast United FC, a result that may dent the team’s confidence. Nevertheless, Coach Sergio Lobera’s wealth of experience offers hope for a turnaround. Having suffered three defeats, managed one draw, and secured one victory in their previous five matches, The Juggernauts could benefit greatly from playing at home. It is important to remember that Odisha are yet to lose at home in the ISL this season.

Team News

Kerala Blasters FC’s performance in the latter part of the season has been notably affected by injuries to key players, a fact familiar to any ISL fan. Among those sidelined are captain and playmaker Adrian Luna, goalkeeper Sachin Suresh, defender Aiban Dohling, and forward Kwame Peprah. Sachin and Peprah are confirmed to be out for the rest of the season. However, there remains optimism regarding Luna and Aiban, both of whom have been registered for the playoffs. Dimitris Diamantakos, who has scored 13 goals for this Kerala side, has also traveled with the team and it remains to be seen if Ivan can count on the Greek striker.

Read: ISL 2023/24 – Matchweek 22 Review

Odisha FC’s coach, Sergio Lobera, can breathe easy in contrast. All of his players are fit and ready for the upcoming match against KBFC. This means Lobera, the Spanish tactician, can field his top lineup against The Tuskers.

Predicted Lineup for Kerala Blasters

GK: Lara Sharma

Defenders: Marco Leskovic, Hormipam Ruivah, Milos Drincic, Sandeep Singh

Midfielders: Saurav Mandal, Daisuke Sakai, Vibin Mohanan, Jeakson Singh

Forwards: Fedor Cernych, Ishan Pandita.

Predicted Lineup for Odisha

GK: Amrinder Singh

Defenders: Carlos Delgado, Mourtada Fall, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Amey Ranawade

Midfielders: Puitea, Ahmed Jahouh, Lenny Rodrigues, Isak Vanlalruatfela

Forwards: Diego Mauricio, Roy Krishna.

Match Prediction

With Odisha FC leading the points table, they’re poised as favorites for the upcoming match, especially with the advantage of playing on their home turf, likely bolstering their chances of victory. Brazilian striker Diego Mauricio is primed to lead the attack, supported by seasoned midfielder Ahmed Jahouh and emerging talent Isak Vanlalruatfela in midfield. The defensive backbone will be formed by Spanish defender Carlos Delgado and Senegalese defender Mourtada Fall.

However, it’s crucial not to underestimate Ivan Vukomanovic’s team, considering their track record of notable achievements in the league. Under Vukomanovic’s leadership for the past three years, the team has consistently secured playoff berths each season.

The current frontrunner for the ISL Golden Boot, Dimitrios Diamantakos, boasts the ability to break through any defensive line. Joining him, midfield ace Adrian Luna is expected to feature in the upcoming match, alongside Japanese midfielder Daisuke Sakai, instilling hopes among the Kerala faithful. Marco Leskovic and Milos Drincic are slated to form a solid defensive wall against the likes of Krishna and Mauricio, while Lara Sharma, fresh from his league debut, is poised to assertively protect the goal.

Telecast Details

The upcoming game between Kerala Blasters FC and Odisha FC will be televised on Sports18 TV and VH1 on April 19 at 7:30 PM. Live streaming can be accessed through the Jio Cinema App.

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A Passionate Kerala Blasters Fc And Indian Football Fan Who Is Grinding Each And Everyday To Achieve His Dreams. An "Always Learn To Clap In Other's Success, Your Time Will Come" Believer :)

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