ISL 2022-23: Kerala Blasters FC bank on home support against NorthEast United FC to overturn recent form

ISL 2022-23: Kerala Blasters FC bank on home support against NorthEast United FC to overturn recent form

The Blasters are currently in fourth place and one point behind FC Goa with two games less.

The Kerala Blasters have dropped all six points in their last two Hero ISL games. However, their recent home form has been stellar with four straight wins. So far this season, the Blasters have won five of seven home games at home.

In last week’s loss to FC Goa, Dimitrios Diamantakos scored his seventh goal of the season. The Greek striker is Kerala Blasters FC’s top scorer this season and has bagged four assists as well. His first goal of the season came in the reverse game earlier this season as the Blasters won 3-0.

After netting a brace against Highlanders in their second leg, Sahal Samad has only scored and assisted once. Head coach Ivan Vukomanovic will expect more from the winger as Rahul KP will also be available after serving his suspension. (Club statistics)

“It’s another game. Every game for us is crucial. There are always teams who want to play their best game against Kerala Blasters, especially when we play in Kochi,” Vukomanovic said. “Sometimes you enjoy a series of positive results and then enter a bad phase where it is important to react. Nobody can do it for us. It is up to us. We have to be brave and smart to have the right approach for the rest six games,” he added.

NorthEast United FC are bottom of the Hero ISL standings with four points this season. The Highlanders have lost all but two of their games this season. The two games in which the Highlanders picked up points came at home.

NorthEast United FC have not won an away game at Hero ISL in their last 18 attempts. Their last away win was in February 2021 against East Bengal FC. The Highlanders will be eager to end this run, but it will be a difficult task without their top scorer Wilmar Gil.

The Colombian striker was sent off in last week’s 4-0 loss to Mumbai City FC. Head coach Vincenzo Annese will be without his top scorer, but will have new signing Joseba Beitia at his disposal. (Club statistics)

“The mood is always positive for a new match because we have enough time to rest and prepare for it. We know their way of playing. We will definitely change something because every time we face a big team like Kerala , it’s difficult,” says Annese. “It’s going to be hard to play without him
because he is our captain. Beitia knows Indian football and the I-League very well. We hope he can perform well in ISL as well,” he added.

In the 17 Hero ISL meetings between the two teams, the Blasters have won seven, while the Highlanders have won four. Six games ended in draws.

Source: ISL Media