Familiar foes Chennaiyin stand in way of Kerala’s bid for first win

After securing just a point from their opening two games, Kerala Blasters will aim to bag their first victory in Hero Indian Super League Season 7 as they take on their southern rivals Chennaiyin FC at the GMC Stadium, here on Sunday.

Previously, the two teams have faced each other on 14 occasions and two-time champions Chennai have always got the better of their opponents with six wins, five draws while facing just three losses.

After winning their opener against Jamshedpur FC, Csaba Laszlo’s side will once again bank on Rafael Crivellaro and Anirudh Thapa to provide the creativity in midfield. The onus will be on forward Esmael Goncalves to spearhead their attack.”We know our opponent well,” said Laszlo. “We have to try to control the game. Kerala has a good team, their coach (Kibu Vicuna) is spending his second year in India and he knows Indian football well. He’s new and so is the team. Generally, the most important (thing) is the reaction from the team and their desire. This is a derby game, not just another game.”

“We will continue what we began – to enjoy ourselves, our football and our style and work on that. Hopefully, we can win and collect the three points.”

In contrast, Kerala have struggled to create chances despite dominating possession against their opponents in the first two matches. Apart from his attack, Vicuna will expect his team’s defense to improve.

Kerala Blasters have conceded all their three goals in the second half so far and dropped points from promising positions during games. Sergio Cidoncha’s presence will once again be key for them in midfield with doubts over Sahal Abdul Samad returning straight to the playing eleven.

“It’s true, we had more possession of the ball than (both our) opponents but what we want to do is create more chances,” Vicuna said. “We were talking about the games, the general situations, what we have to do to improve and we have to move forward. We have just a point but we did a lot of good things. We have our own style and a concrete plan. We have had to improve in both areas – offensive and defensive and we are in the process. Tomorrow’s going to be a tough challenge.”

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Also Read: I am expecting a tough game- Cuadrat

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