NorthEast United FC vs Kerala Blasters FC: 5 things to expect from the ISL match
North East United FC will be taking on Kerala Blaster FC in their first home match of the new season of the Indian Super League.
The seventh match of the Indian Super League will feature North East United FC taking on the two-time finalists Kerala Blasters FC at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa. This will be NorthEast's first home game of the season. The two sides have suffered a big loss in their opening fixture and coincidently both the teams were beaten 4-2 by their opponents.
The game promises to be a belter as both the teams will be eyeing for their first win. Here are the 5 things to expect from the ISL fixture.
Both the outfits had a poor start to their campaign and with this game incoming, they will be looking forward to getting back to the winning momentum. Going into the game, the teams had good recovery sessions and the coaches are expected to make necessary changes to their teams ahead of the game.
There were some positives from the defeat and the coaches would be looking to build on that. KBFC enjoyed most of their ball possessions against ATKMB and will try to enjoy the same, while NEUFC will again rely on their counter-attacking football.
It will be interesting to see how Khalid Jamil and Ivan Vukomanovic fields their men as both the teams will be looking to bounce back from their defeat on Thursday. However, Ivan will be missing the services of Rahul KP on the right flank after the speedy midfielder tore his groin muscle during the opening game.
Get the ball to Adrian Luna
Adrian Luna will be one of the biggest assets for Ivan Vukomanovic this season and the team will be looking at his creativity and goal-scoring abilities to seal home victory. Luna proved to be the best source in front of goal for Kerala and will be aiming to continue his form against NorthEast.
The Uruguayan playmaker already bagged an assist to his name in the first game and there is no doubt that he will be highly motivated to face the Highlanders' on Thursday. Ivan will be asking his players to find Luna more often than usual and let Luna perform his magic on the field.
Inclusion of Patrick Flottmann
Young-Australian defender, Patrick Flottmann is all set to make his debut in Indian football. His absence proved costly for Khalid Jamil's side as the gaffer was forced to field an all-Indian defence against Bengaluru.
The inexperienced defence didn't look sturdy and strong at the back leading the opponent to catch them out of position on several occasions. Flottmann has recovered from illness and his return will surely bring defensive stability ahead of the Kerala game.
On the other side, Bosnian centre-back Enes Sipovic will also be available for selection for Kerala Blasters after serving a one-match suspension. It will be interesting to see how Ivan involves Sipovic in the game.
Attack vs Defence
The Highlanders' under Khalid Jamil has shown their counter-attacking abilities. With their incredible amount of pace, NEUFC will once again eye to hit their opponent on counters. With the likes of Mathias Coureur, Deshorn Brown, V.P. Suhair, and Rochharzela in attack, NEUFC does have the legs to outrun their opponents.
Despite a heavy defeat against ATKMB in the opening game, the KBFC attackers showed some glimpses of magic in the attack. The Blasters will be looking at the likes of Adrian Luna, Alvaro Vazquez, Sahal Abdul Samad, and Jorge Pereyra Díaz to do all the damage on Thursday.
Both NorthEast and Kerala defence looked vulnerable and out of position many a time in their first games. So, it will be very fascinating to see how both the defensive units cope up against their attacking counterparts.
Will Khalid involve Gallego against Kerala Blasters?
Federico Gallego was instrumental in NorthEast's success last season. The Uruguayan midfielder was eager to start against ATK Mohun Bagan before missing out due to an injury.
Gallego has now recovered from his injury and has trained with the main team for a couple of days. Thus Khalid is expected to make a late call on him. Gallego has wealth of experience playing in the ISL and will bring confidence to the team with his presence.
Probable Line ups
NorthEast United FC (4-3-3): Subhasish Roy Chowdhury (GK) (C); Provat Lakra, Patrick Flottmann, Hernan Santana, Gurjinder Kumar; Rochharzela, Khassa Camara, Sehnaj Singh; William Lalnunfela, Deshorn Brown, V. P. Suhair
Kerala Blasters FC (4-4-2): Albino Gomes (GK); Harmanjot Khabra, Mark Leskovic, Bijoy Varghese, Jessel Carneiro (C) ; Prasanth KAruthadathkuni, Jeakson Singh, Sahal Abdul Samad, Adrian Luna; Lucas Vazquez, Jorge Pereyra Diaz
Watch NorthEast United FC vs Kerala Blasters FC tonight at 7:30 pm (IST) in Start Sports Network, Hotstar, and JioTV