Kerala Blasters vs. Delhi Dynamos Preview: Lions eye first league win against improving hosts

Kerala Blasters have made more than just a decent start to their campaign in the Hero Indian Super League and will look at the massive home advantage to see them through against Delhi Dynamos at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Kochi on Saturday.

Blasters keen to hit form on resumption

The Blasters find themselves in the top half of the table with four points from two games. The two-time finalists were in fine fettle in the season opener against ATK as they notched their maiden win on Kolkata soil. They seemed to have bagged a second consecutive win before a gem of a strike from Pranjal Bhumij in the dying minutes saw them settle for a point against Mumbai City FC.

Former India under-17 goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh has a ‘best-in-the-league’ save percentage of 85.71% and looks set to start between the sticks again for them. Sandesh Jhingan and Nemanja Lakic-Pesic have also formed a formidable partnership in defence that has also featured Mohammed Rakip and Lalruatthara. Jhingan & co. have conceded only one goal so far and will pose a tough challenge to the Delhi forwards.

Lions looking to rectify poor start

Under new boss Josep Gombau, the Dynamos were handed two home matches to kick off their campaign in the fifth season of the ISL. Those two matches have yielded just a point, although the Dynamos will feel they could have won both.

In their opener against Pune City, Delhi seemed destined for a win before a late equalizer from Diego Carlos. In their 1-2 loss to ATK, the hosts were guilty of some wayward finishing and conceded another late goal.

 

Lallianzuala Chhangte and Nandhakumar Sekar have been lively on the flanks but Gombau will be hoping striker Andrija Kaludjerovic can find his scoring boots soon. In fact, Delhi’s forwards have the lowest shot accuracy so far with just 25 per cent.

Prediction

Kerala are chasing their first home win of the season while Gombau’s men are hunting for their first victory.

This is undoubtedly Josep Gombau’s biggest challenge and will test his demands for player stamina to the limits. It is a challenge which he should negotiate on a roller-coaster ride for Dynamos fans on the first away trip.

Both sides are strong defensively so it is hard to envisage a goal-fest, but Kerala seem to have enough quality in the final third to score. And for the visitors, if they play with enough energy and composure, they could find themselves with a narrow victory. Brace yourself for another cracker of a contest.


 

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Source: Matchday Frolics
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