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Kerala vs Bengaluru, Indian Football League 2020-21, Match Preview

Bengaluru will face Kerala in the Wednesday encounter of the Indian Football League 2020-21 to gain the confidence back. The Blues have slipped to the middle of the table after five matches without a win. 

Match Timings: Jan 20, 7:30 PM IST 

Team Preview 

Bengaluru sacked its head coach, but it didn’t improve its game in Indian Football League 2020-21. The former winner of this competition started high, but the previous downfall hurt its playoff hopes. Blues won its last game on December 17, and the victory came against Odisha. Since the last victory, Bengaluru scored only two goals and conceded three clean-sheets. They managed to hold Northeast for a draw and earned the first point after four matches in the previous outing. Both sides canceled out each other at the starting of the game. In the third minute, Parag setup a cross to Kristian Opseth, but this cross didn’t get the space to turn. Rahul Bheke also whipped a cross to Opseth, but the header was saved easily by Northeast’s goalkeeper. 
Luis Machado scored in the 27th minute to give a 1-0 lead to Highlanders. Northeast dominated the possession, and they started breaking the defense of the Blues. Bengaluru got a good chance when Suhair missed out on the scoring after getting an inviting cross from Rochharzela. Blues got an equaliser in the 49th minute when Gurmeet misjudged Rahul Bheke’s shot. Sunil Chhetri and Cleiton Silva tried hard for the winner after the important equaliser. The Highlanders won corners, but it didn’t offer them any goal. Rahul Bheke got a half-chance, but he headed the ball over from Dimas Delgado’s corner-kick. 

One point was enough for the Blues, considering the top game from Northeast. The defense fall like a card paper’s architecture. Rahul Bheke, Pratik Chaudhari, Juanan, and Parag Srivas failed to lift them up. The forward line was average, and it’s a big concern for the Blues. Its Norwegian striker, Kristian Opseth, hasn’t scored a goal this season. Cleiton Silva has three goals from 11 matches, and Sunil Chhetri is also off the colors. Three points from here can open the campaign for Blues. Bengaluru has also announced the signing of midfielder Xisco Hernandez and also loaned Ajay Chhetri to Bengal. Xisco was part of Bengaluru's 2018-19 title triumph. 

Meanwhile, Kerala’s campaign is on a similar route, and they’re still in the bottom two. In the previous match, they played a 1-1 draw with Bengal, and an injury-time strike from the Gold and Reds spoiled three points. Kerala started the game on a positive note. Gary Hooper played a good pass to Facundo Pereyra, and Murray lost his footing to fail the first chance. Jessel Carneiro also sent the ball to Murray with a long diagonal pass, and Debjit Majumder made an easy save. 

For Bengal, Harmanpreet Singh came close to strike, but he couldn’t connect the ball properly, and Albino Gomes made an easy save. Vicente Gomez failed to hit the target with his headers. After a goalless first half, Jessel Carneiro almost netted an own goal, and later, Murray missed out another half chance. Gary Hooper’s one shot went just wide of the target. In the 64th minute, Murray got his name on the scoresheet to take Kerala one goal ahead. Bengal fought hard, and Scott Neville scored an equaliser in injury time to extend Bengal’s unbeaten streak.

Lalruatthara didn’t feature in the last game due to suspension, and he will be back in action in place of Nishu Kumar. Murray’s good form is a boost to Kerala. The striker is now only behind Igor Angulo and Nerijus Valskis in the list of top goalscorers. The yellow outfit had previously locked horns this season, and Bengaluru took the game 4-2. Every game is important for Kerala now, and to qualify for the playoffs, they cannot make mistakes like they did in the last game. Bengaluru is struggling at this stage, and Vicuna can push his boys to dominate Blues on Wednesday night. 

Possible Lineups & Current Form 

Bengaluru 

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu; Rahul Bheke, Pratik Chaudhari, Juanan, Parag Srivas, Cleiton Silva, Harmanjot Khabra, Erik Paartalu, Dimas Delgado, Kristian Opseth, Sunil Chhetri 

Current form: D L L L L 

Previous match: 1-1 draw with Northeast 

Kerala 

Albino Gomes; Nishu Kumar/Lalruatthara, Sandeep Singh, Costa Nhamoinesu, Jessel Carneiro; Vicente Gomez, Jeakson Singh; Facundo Pereyra, Gary Hooper, Sahal Abdul Samad; Jordan Murray

Current form: D W L L W 

Previous match: 1-1 draw with Bengal 

Key Players 

Bengaluru 

Cleiton Silva 

3 goals in Indian Football League 2020-21 

Sunil Chhetri 

4 goals in Indian Football League 2020-21 

Kerala 

Jordan Murray 

6 goals in Indian Football League 2020-21 

Gary Hooper 

2 goals in Indian Football League 2020-21

MyTeam11 Desk
MyTeam11 Desk
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