Kochi: Kerala Blasters will be up against a desperate Chennaiyin FC in an Indian Super League (ISL) football clash at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Saturday.
Reigning champions Chennaiyin are struggling in the bottom half of the eight-team table, lying at a lowly seventh with only 10 points from eight matches. Kerala are fifth with 12 points from nine games.
They are winless in their last four matches, having drawn thrice consecutively, and take on Kerala on the back of a 1-4 heavy defeat against table toppers Delhi Dynamos.
Tempers flared up between the two teams in their first leg match at Chennai that ended 0-0. Chennaiyin coach Marco Materazzi was suspended for "misconduct against opponents or persons other than match officials" and the atmosphere at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium is likely to be heated on Saturday too.
"The message to my players is the same for every game. Discipline is vitally important. I think there was a misunderstanding in the last game," said Kerala Blasters coach Steve Coppell in an ISL release on Friday, referring to Materazzi's run in with one of his players after the drawn encounter.
Kerala did well to secure an important win against FC Goa in their last home clash and Coppell believes they have no time to relax in their pursuit for a place in the semi-finals.
"Every game is a challenge, a fresh challenge. I look at the league and it seems as if game by game upsets are happening. Without doubt, any team in the league is capable of beating any other team. So you can never relax. You have to be at the top of your preparation," said Coppell.
Kerala will have to put their best foot forward against Chennaiyin to register a win as they have never won against their southern rivals. They have played five matches against Chennaiyin, losing thrice and drawing the other two.
Chennaiyin will be keen to get their campaign back on track after the demoralising 1-4 defeat against Delhi.
"Football is a beautiful game. You have another chance right after this game. After one game, you have to focus on the next," said Materazzi.