ISL Matchweek 8 Preview (KBFC vs CFC): Drum rolls for the Southern Rivals as Chennaiyin FC come visiting in Kerala Blasters FC’s backyard

Kochi, 28 November, 2023: Amidst a topsy-turvy battle for the top spot, Kerala Blasters FC will look to reclaim the first position in the points table in their clash against Chennaiyin FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on November 29, Wednesday.

FC Goa replaced the Tuskers in that coveted place with a 1-0 victory against Jamshedpur FC to round off the seventh Matchweek of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24. However, Ivan Vukomanovic and his men have been flawless and walk around with an air of inevitability so far this season.

 They have won four out of their five home games and the match on Wednesday will again see them turning up in front of some breath-taking crowd support, and whether they capitalise on that to make the most of the home advantage remains to be seen.

What’s at stake?

Kerala Blasters FC

Plenty of Kochi games at the start of the season give the Kerala Blasters a head-start to accumulate as many points as possible in the opening half of the campaign. They should be looking to build a distance in this phase with other teams in the league before a host of challenging encounters on the road come their way.

Chennaiyin FC

It has been a season of there and thereabouts for Chennaiyin FC. Barring a few games, they have often been close to the finishing line but have frequently fallen short of the same. An instant boost of confidence is essential to inspire some self-belief within the squad, and few things come close to upsetting Kerala Blasters in their own backyard.

There’s a caveat though – with 11 wins and a draw in 15 home games, Vukomanovic more often than not gets his team right in Kochi.

Key Players

Miloš Drinčić (Kerala Blasters FC)

The 24-year-old defender has made 2.25 tackles, three clearances, and attempted 42 passes on an average in his four appearances in the league. He also netted the winner against Hyderabad FC. The likes of Drinčić, Rei Tachikawa (Jamshedpur FC), Cy Goddard (Odisha FC), are trendsetters in terms of foreign internationals at the start of their careers choosing to ply their trade in the ISL. For a player like Drinčić to succeed is not only essential for Kerala Blasters, but also for the entire league to become an attractive destination for young players across the globe.

Ninthoinganba Meetei (Chennaiyin FC)

The 22-year-old scored the equaliser for Chennaiyin FC against East Bengal FC, and the sudden sharpness that he showed whilst scoring the goal made people pause and take notice of his tremendous talent. The former Indian Arrows product is playing his fifth ISL season, having turned up in 54 games, but has averaged merely 45.72 minutes on the field per match.

His outputs haven’t been up to the mark before this campaign, having netted only once prior to the match against Carles Cuadrat’s side. However, that strike must have instilled great self-belief in the player and one can anticipate him to play a crucial role in Owen Coyle’s plans against Kerala Blasters.


Played – 20

Kerala Blasters FC – 6

Chennaiyin FC – 6

Draws – 8

Trivia: Vincy Barreto, former Kerala Blasters FC now with Chennaiyin FC, scored for the Marina Machans against his former team in their league fixture last season.

Team Talk

“Our games against Chennaiyin FC have always been tough. I expect a very tough, physical game with many duels tomorrow. It is the type of game that has always happened between these two teams. Where we or our opponent stand at the table at the moment doesn’t matter right now. Every game is tough at home, especially because the other team always wants to show something extra,” Kerala Blasters FC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic said in the pre-match press conference.

“It’s going to be a great game. If I took myself back to being a player, this is the kind of game that you want to play. Kerala have been doing fantastic, all credit to them, they have a very good coach. Because they have had consistency with the same coach, building an infrastructure within the club, they have a clever sporting director, and they have set a fantastic plan for the team. We know the backing they have and that obviously makes this game special,” Chennaiyin FC head coach Owen Coyle heaped praise on the opponents before the match. 

ISL Fantasy

Adrian Luna (10.3cr)

With three goals and as many assists, the Kerala Blasters FC skipper has arguably been the player of the season so far

Rafael Crivellaro (7.6cr)

The Brazilian is the creative fulcrum of his side, even assisting the equaliser in the last match

Sachin Suresh (4.2cr)

The goalkeeper is having an impressive campaign, becoming the first goalkeeper in ISL history to save penalties in consecutive games

Also Read: Ivan Vukomanovic: It’s all about passion for the people of Kerala

Also Read: Tottenham Hotspur brings club legends to India for a Fan Screening and Community Engagement in Mumbai

Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for all the latest happenings in the world of Indian Football.

SSE BFC to conduct trials for U9 to U17 age group players

SSE BFC Soccer School will be conducting fresh trials this month for players aged below 17 to be part of their football program SSE BFC Soccer Schools is a football…


India Khelo Football Season 3 Trials for Mumbai and Thane are here

India Khelo Football (IKF) is back with Season 3 of its widely acclaimed trials with an aim to cover more than 50 cities this time around. After the resounding success…


Mastering the Art of Football Trials: Key Pre-Trial Factors to Keep in Mind

Football trials are a critical juncture for aspiring players to showcase their skills and secure a spot in a team. To maximize your chances of success, it’s essential to tailor your approach based on your playing position as well as keeping in mind a few pre-trial factors.


Somaiya Sports Academy to conduct trials for MFA 2nd Division campaign

Somaiya Sports Academy is looking for passionate young football players for the Somaiya Sports Academy Football Team to compete in the MFA 2nd Division League 2023-2024. If selected, you will…


BFC Soccer Schools – Mumbai to conduct trials for U14 & U16 Girls

The BFC Soccer Schools Elite team girls’ trials are coming up in search of talented players from the U14 to U16 (Born 2009 and after) age groups into the club’s…


Opportunity to make the team: U.K.M. Kothrud FC conducts selection trials for girls team

Pune-based U.K.M. Kothrud FC has announced that they will be conducting selection trials for their girl’s team on 15th January 2023 The club welcomes all players to come and showcase…


The Sunday Football League Season 4 is back

The Sunday Football League is back with its fourth season, and it’s shaping up to be the best one yet. With eight talented teams competing at the Kes Kandivali turf, there…


BFC Soccer Schools Elite team trials in Feb

Bengaluru FC launched their Mumbai program last season with the Soccer Schools and Elite programs with its local partner Soccer Schools of Excellence (SSE).  Bengaluru Football Club is a professional club…


India Khelo Football Season 2 Trials in Mumbai: A Chance to Kickstart Your Football Career

After conducting trials in 34 cities & villages across India, India Khelo Football is coming to Mumbai to hunt talent on 7th January. India Khelo Football kickstarted its season 2…


Mumbai Customs to conduct trials for Elite League

Former champions Mumbai Customs will be holding open trials for the upcoming MFA Elite Corporate League (Elite Division) The 2019 MFA Elite Division champions Mumbai Customs are conducting open trials…