Kerala Blasters will be back in action after a COVID-induced break when they take on resurgent Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 at the Tilak Maidan Stadium, Vasco, Goa on Sunday. (More Football News)
This will be their 10th meeting in the ISL. Bengaluru FC lead the head-to-head record against Kerala Blasters 5-2. Two matches have ended in draws. In the first-leg meeting this season, they played out a 1-1 draw. Another stalemate was in 2019, when they settled for a 2-2 draw.
Match and telecast details
Match: Match 76 of Indian Super League 2021-22 between Kerala Blasters and Bengaluru FC
Date: January 30 (Sunday), 2022
Time: Kick-off at 7:30 PM IST
Venue: Tilak Maiden, Vasco, Goa
TV Channels: Star Sports 3, Star Sports Select 1 HD, Star Sports 1 Bangla
Live Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar.
Unbeaten in ten matches, Kerala last played on January 12, recording a 2-0 win over Odisha FC before their next two games were postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. They have 20 points from 11 matches, and are third in the league standings.
A win will take the Blasters to the same number of points as current league leaders Hyderabad FC, who have a superior goal difference. But for Ivan Vukomanovic's men the advantage is that they have two more games in hand than Hyderabad and one more than second-placed Jamshedpur FC.
"Bengaluru are a great team which have the momentum. They have a great coach. They have a team that deserves to be in the top four and I believe they will at the end of the league," said Vukomanovic, showering praise on the former champions.
Bengaluru are also having their own unbeaten run, a streak of seven matches, and their improvement in attack has been a key reason for their climb up the table. In their last match, Bengaluru beat Chennaiyin 3-0. It was the fourth time in the last seven games that they had scored three goals or more in a match.
The Blues have also been creating more chances of late. In the last seven matches, they have created 10 or more chances on six occasions.
"The mood in the camp is good after the win against Chennaiyin. We're second in the number of goals scored, which is good for our confidence. We have a good squad, a very good team, and when we play our style of football we have a very good chance of winning this game," Bengaluru head coach Marco Pezzaiuoli said.
Sunil Chhetri's return to form has also coincided with Bengaluru's unbeaten streak. After no goal contributions in his first 11 matches, Chhetri has hit form, providing two assists in his last two games.
"Sunil Chhetri is a very important player for this team. You can see how many kilometers he covered in the last game. Also when he could have scored a goal himself, he saw Udanta in a better position and played it to him. He is vital to the team in many ways," Pezzaiuoli said.
Udanta Kumam has also found his scoring boots after a couple of forgettable seasons. The young forward scored a brace in Bengaluru's win over Chennaiyin and has been involved in four goals this season.