NorthEast United will hope to continue their impressive start to the season when they take on Kerala Blasters in their second game of the Indian Super League (ISL) Season 7. (More Football News)
Gerard Nus' side had defeated 10-man Mumbai City FC in their opener with many impressed by their defensive resilience. Against a Kerala side that did not manage a single shot on target in their loss to ATK Mohun Bagan in the season opener, Nus will back his defenders to continue their good run.
He will also be buoyed by the fact that NEUFC are unbeaten in their last four games against Kerala. Regardless, Nus expects a tough game against Kerala. "Kerala Blasters have one of the best squads in ISL. They are a tough team to play against. They are good in the build-up, organisation, and set-pieces. They can create chances in so many ways. It is going to be a hard match," he said. "They did not deserve to lose. They are going to play good football again."
Kerala coach Kibu Vicuna knows how strong his opponents are and is under no illusions. "They played a very good match against Mumbai City and they are a very good team. For sure, they are going to be a strong team and a very tough challenge for us," he said.
Kerala and NEUFC had two of the worst defense tallies in the league last year, only managing three clean sheets each. While the latter seems to have moved on from there and bolstered their backline, the same old woes are haunting Kerala. In their opener against ATKMB, the goal that cost them the game came from a defensive mistake.
But Vicuna says that things will improve with time and that his Kerala side is essentially a work in progress. "It takes time and we are in the process. I think with time, we are going to be better, we are going to play better. We have a lot of new players, both Indian and foreign. So it will take time to create our identity as a football team," he said.
All you need to know about the Kerala Blasters Vs NorthEast United FC match:
Match: 7th match of ISL 2020-21 between Kerala Blasters and NorthEast United FC.
Date: November 26 (Thursday), 2020.
Time: 7:30 PM IST
Venue: GMC Stadium, Bambolim, Goa.
TV Listing: Star Sports 1/HD, Star Sports 2/HD (English); Star Sports Hindi 1/HD, Star Sports 3, Star Gold 2 (Hindi), Asianet Plus, Asianet Movies (Malayalam); Star Sports Bangla; Star Sports Kannada; Star Sports Tamil; Star Sports Telugu and Star Sports Marathi.
Live Streaming: Online streaming will be available on Disney+ Hotstar VIP and JioTV.
All ISL 2020-21 matches will be shown live and can be streamed live in 82 territories across the world. Check worldwide coverage details HERE.
Head-to-head: This will be their 13th meeting in the ISL, with Kerala Blasters leading the head-to-head record 5-3, including doubles in 2015 and 2017-18 seasons. But the last three games have been all draws.
Season recap: The first round of the season is effectively over, with only SC East Bengal yet to take the field. And the latest ISL entrants will face ATK Mohun Bagan in the first-ever Kolkata derby of the league on Friday. So far, ATKMB, NEUFC, Chennaiyin FC and Hyderabad FC have won their respective opening matches, while Mumbai City FC got their first win, against FC Goa, in the second outing. They lost the NEUFC earlier. Goa are the only other team to play two matches. They produced a late fightback to hold Bengaluru FC to a 2-2 draw. Jamshedpur FC, KBFC and Odisha FC have lost their openers.
Kerala Blasters: Abino Gomes; Nishu Kumar, Costa Nhamoinesu, Bakary Kone, Jessel Carneiro; Sergio Cidoncha, Vicente Gomez; Lalthathanga Khawlhring, Sahal Abdul Samad, Nongdamba Naorem; Gary Hooper.
NorthEast United: Subhasish Roy Chowdhury; Ashutosh Mehta, Benjamin Lambot, Dylan Fox, Gurjinder Kumar; Lalengmawia, Khassa Camara; Khumanthem Ninthoinganba Meetei, Fanai Lalrempuia, Luis Machado; Kwesi Appiah.
Kerala Blasters: Goalkeepers - Albino Gomes, Bilal Khan, Prabhsukhan Singh Gill, Muheet Khan; Defenders - Costa Nhamoinesu, Nishu Kumar, Bakary Kone, Jessel Carneiro, Sandeep Singh, Abdul Hakku, Lalruatthara; Midfielders - Sergio Cidoncha, Sahal Abdul Samad, Vicente Gomez, Seityasen Irom, Rahul KP, Givson Moirangthem, Lalthathanga Khawlhring, Yendrembam Denechandra, Nongdamba Naorem, Arjun Jayaraj, Ayush Adhikari, Jeakson Thounaojam, Prasanth Karuthadathkuni, Ritwik Das, Rohit Kumar; Forwards - Gary Hooper, Jordan Murray, Facundo Pereyra, Naorem Mahesh, Shaiborlang Kharpan.
Head coach - Kibu Vicuna (Spain)
NorthEast United: Goalkeepers - Sanjiban Ghosh, Subhasish Roy, Gurmeet, Nikhil Deka; Defenders - Ashutosh Mehta, Benjamin Lambot, Dylan Fox, Gurjinder Kumar, Mashoor Shereef, Nabin Rabha, Nim Dorjee, Provat Lakra, Wayne Vaz, Rakesh Pradhan; Midfielders - Federico Gallego, Khassa Camara, Lalengmawia, Imran Khan, Lalrempuia Fanai, Pragyan Gogoi, Rochharzela; Forwards - Idrissa Sylla, Luis Machado, Kwesi Appiah, Britto PM, Khumanthem Ninthoinganba Meetei, Lalkhawpuimawia, Suhair Vadakkepeedika.
Head coach - Gerard Nus (Spain)