ISL 2017-18: With semis chances hanging by thread, Kerala Blasters take on Bengaluru FC in South Indian derby

Bengaluru: Kerala Blasters will look to keep their slim semi-finals qualification chances alive when they take on table-toppers Bengaluru FC in their last league match of the Indian Super League on Thursday.

Currently, the Blasters are placed sixth on the league table with 25 points but to qualify for the semis, they need to beat Bengaluru by 12 goals or more and hope Jamshedpur and FC Goa play out a goalless draw.

Sandesh Jhingan of Kerala Blasters FC and Kerala Blasters FC coach David James before the start of the match 54 of the Hero Indian Super League between Kerala Blasters FC and FC Goa held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi India on the 21st January 2018 Photo by: Vipin Pawar / ISL / SPORTZPICS

Kerala Blasters' captain Sandesh Jhingan and coach David James have an impossible task ahead of them. ISL

Blasters would also like to avoid playing Super-Cup qualifiers by finishing at least in top six.

Hosts Bengaluru have already confirmed their place in the semi-finals and will play for momentum ahead of the knockout stages.

"We are in a difficult situation and at the mercy of Jamshedpur and Goa. But we will do everything to win and we are unbeaten," Blasters coach David James said.

The former England goalkeeper also sounded frustrated with the two draws in their five-match unbeaten run, saying that it would have been better if they had lost a game and won the other.

He also has the selection headache of deciding which position Dimitar Berbatov will play if he gets the nod.

James erred on the side of caution - saying that "even a 1-0 win will do" - suggesting that the match may not see the Blasters come out all guns blazing. He singled out goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and captain Sunil Chhetri as two of Bengaluru's biggest threats.

Albert Roca's Bengaluru FC are eight points clear of second-placed FC Pune City and the most consistent team in the league. They've won six of the last seven games.

"It's the last game of the league but we need to keep winning because that is important. We want to be strong going into the playoffs and there is only one way to do that - to do our job as good as possible," he said.

Bengaluru and Kerala Blasters have an edgy rivalry and both managers said they expected the fans to not cross the limits during banter.

"The rivalry is good for Indian football and the fans should enjoy it in the proper way," Roca said.


Updated Date: Mar 01, 2018 15:41 PM

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