ISL 2016: Kerala Blasters look to overtake hosts Chennaiyin FC in key encounter
Defending ISL champions Chennaiyin FC would look to return to winning ways when they take on an upbeat Kerala Blasters at home.
Chennai: Defending champions Chennaiyin FC would look to return to winning ways when they take on an upbeat Kerala Blasters in their Indian Super League football match at home here on Saturday.
Chennaiyin had jumped up the ladder with victory over NorthEast United FC but the draw against Pune in their last match slowed them down.
The Marco Materrazi-led side are currently at fourth spot in the league table with eight points from five matches and a win tomorrow will put them on top of the league table.
Kerala are riding high after scoring a come-from-behind win against FC Goa in Goa on 24 October. They were down by a goal in the first session but staged a marvelous recovery in the second half to floor FC Goa 2-1 and jump to the fifth spot with eight points from six matches.
Chennaiyin had no such luck in their previous match and were forced to settle for a point, despite taking the lead against FC Pune City in a 1-1 result in Pune.
Chennaiyin are now at home for the next two matches and head coach Materazzi underlined the importance of registering victories, rather than dropping points.
"The two games (at home) will be fundamental to us. It's difficult to win one game in the league and two in a row is even tougher. We know we are facing a really good team with solid defence and quality in attack. If we had won against Pune, we would have been at the top, but that did not happen. We have to have a change in mentality once again and face (Kerala) with an aggressive mentality. In this league, you can never stop," said Materazzi.
Materazzi did not offer any hints on the team he would use for the Southern derby but if he chooses to field marquee player John Arne Riise, the Liverpool legend will be up against a familiar English Premier League rival.
At the other end of the pitch will be Kerala marquee player Aaron Hughes, the former Fulham defender (2007-08) who played against Riise (then Liverpool FC) in the English Premier League.
The two sides have been involved in some fierce contests in the past with Kerala famously knocking Chennaiyin out in the semifinals of the inaugural edition.
Kerala coach Steve Coppell is into his first season in ISL and is already aware of the history between his team and Southern rivals, Chennaiyin. But he said tomorrow's match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium will be just another game.
"I have been made aware of the history but it means nothing to me. As far as I am concerned, it is just another game. This is a different team, different players, different year and different occasion. What at stake now is totally different from what was at stake in the past. We play them in a couple of weeks, so may the best team come out on top in both these fixtures," Coppell said.
Coppell agreed that the last match win has done his team a world of good and they are now determined to continue with their progress.
"Any win in this division is very important because it's so close. Coming to the half-way stage, there is no great deal of points between teams at the top and those at the bottom. Our win against Goa, psychologically, was quite important for us," he said.
Namgyal Bhutia (45th) and Leon Augustine (71st) turned out to be the heroes for the Naushad Moosa-coached side even as Kerala Blasters were eight men down by the end of the dramatic clash at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK).
CSK vs MI, IPL 2021 Live Cricket Score Updates: CSK win the match by 20 runs. Three singles and two wickets in the final over for Bravo. CSK got off to a bad start with the bat but then Ruturaj Gaikwad played a blinder to give his team a chance. Chasing 157, Mumbai kept losing wickets at regular intervals of time and fell short at the end. A typical CSK bowling performance led superbly by their talisman MS Dhoni.
There are 31 games to be played in UAE instead of the usual 60 and that could mean good pitches for the majority of the tournament. With the conditions different from India and pitches expected to be slower, all teams have emphasised on starting from scratch.