Kochi: Kerala Blasters will look to set their house in order when they take on Jamshedpur FC in an Indian Super League game here on Tuesday. The two-time finalists were expected to turn around their fortunes after failure to qualify for the play-offs last season. But since their opening round win against ATK, they have only gone downhill.
David James' side can still qualify for the play-offs as one of the four-best teams but they must first start winning, starting with a home clash against Jamshedpur at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. This is Kerala's worst winless run (8 matches) in ISL history and much of it has been their own doing. James' men have lost seven points from winning positions this season after conceding late goals.
"We have been very close in a lot of games. Early on in the season, there were a few decisions that didn't go our way. Perhaps we could have created more chances. As a head coach, I want to win every game and want the fans to be entertained. The way we recruited, we weren't expecting to reach the finals in year one. The first game versus ATK proved that we could win. All we can do as coaching staff and players is give our 100 per cent," said James.
If Kerala fall to yet another loss on Tuesday, the task of reaching the play-offs could become hard, given that the cut-off last season was 30 points and Kerala would have only eight points with just eight games left to be played. James would be encouraged by the news that Courage Pekuson and Slavisa Stojanovic have returned to training.
They will be up against Jamshedpur FC, who too aren't in the best of form coming into this tie. They have lost only one game but have played out six draws in 10 games, which has held them back.
The Men of Steel failed to score for the first time this season in their last game against NorthEast United which finished goalless. Clearly, they are missing the services of attacking midfielder Sergio Cidoncha, who has scored and assisted three times.
"I think Kerala could play very well. They didn't deserve to draw their matches. They have a good team and have a good coach. They are playing in front of their supporters. But we are ready to play," said coach Cesar Ferrando.
The Spaniard hasn't afforded much game-time to star Tim Cahill who is yet to play 90 minutes this season. The Australian striker has scored a single goal in 329 minutes with the strike coming against Blasters in the reverse fixture. "Tim is playing very well. He has come from Australia only 10 days ago. I think he'll be ready for tomorrow. We need his help," said the coach.
As Blasters will go for jugular in order to revive their flailing season, Jamshedpur FC will look to come unscathed from this battle.
We are taking you back to the 2⃣9⃣th of October, earlier this season, when @JamshedpurFC hosted @KeralaBlasters in an entertaining encounter where things ended all square!— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) December 4, 2018
Who will get their hands on all 3⃣ points this time around?#HeroISL #LetsFootball #KERJAM