Kerala Blasters look to get back to winning ways as Hyderabad search for first points
Hyderabad: Kerala Blasters FC will look to get back to winning ways while newcomers Hyderabad FC will look to make home advantage count and secure their first points of the season at the G.M.C. Balayogi Athletic Stadium here on Saturday.
Hyderabad have not won a game yet, losing their first match 5-0 against ATK before going down 3-1 to Jamshedpur FC in their next. Kerala Blasters won their first match at home against ATK before a late strike from Mumbai City FC’s Amine Chermiti condemned them to a defeat in their next game.
Despite being at home for the first time in the season, it will not be smooth sailing for Hyderabad. Plagued with injuries, Hyderabad’s head coach Phil Brown will face a dilemma while choosing his starting XI. His side will have to make some drastic changes, especially defensive ones, after conceding eight goals in two matches.
For Hyderabad, Bobo, Giles Barnes, Nestor Benitez and Rafael Lopez are either injured or unavailable and have only three foreigners able to play. Another player who is set to miss out is 19-year-old Sahil Panwar, who is also on the treatment table.
Hyderabad’s attack needs talisman Marcelo Pereira and target-man Robin Singh to click. The newcomers have been unable to make any impact in the opposition penalty box so far. Their only goal was scored by Marcelo Pereira.
In his last press conference, head coach Phil Brown reiterated the lack of chances created as a real problem for Hyderabad. Marcelo Pereira is struggling to find full fitness and is yet play to his full potential.
Blasters are returning to league action after a week away and will hope to take advantage of the break. After falling short against Mumbai, Kerala will be looking for a win today. Captain Bartholomew Ogbeche will be the key for Kerala. He’s already found the back of the net twice and will be eager to get amongst the goals against a fragile Hyderabad defence.
Head coach Eelco Schattorie will also be hoping for a much-improved defensive display, especially from set-pieces. Their weakness from set-pieces was repeatedly exposed by ATK who scored their goal from a free-kick.
On top of that, Blasters centre backs Jairo Rodrigues and Gianni Zuiverloon will have to deal with the creativity of Marcelo Pereira.
A win would take the visiting team to the third spot while only a victory can take the home side off the bottom of the ISL table. Meanwhile, a draw would take Blasters to fifth spot but will keep Hyderabad rock bottom.
(With inputs from ISL)