Majcen hattrick sinks Delhi; Kerala back on top
Kolkata, Apr 15 (Football News) Slovenian forward Luka Majcen toyed with Suveda Delhi FC defence, scoring a hattrick as Gokulam Kerala ascended back to the top of the I-League table with a thumping 4-0 win at the Kalyani Stadium here on Friday.
The win took the Malabarians two points clear of Mohammedan Sporting (25) in the 13-team standings.
Majcen opened his account in the 17th minute with Jithin MS setting it up with a penetrating cross to give Gokulam Kerala the lead.
Thahir Zaman then doubled Gokulam Kerala's lead in the 27th minute when he picked up a sublime pass from the left and got his left foot on the ball to send it to the back of the net.
Delhi FC goalkeeper Sachin Jha bore the brunt of a series of attacking moves especially from Jithin who looked threatening up front.
Majcen's speedy runs through the center troubled Sudeva's defence in the second-half as he found the target once again in the 60th minute from an Ahmed Razeek cross.
Jha was out of place and seeing the opportunity, Majcen made the most of it to complete his hat trick in the 86th minute.
At Naihati, Brijesh Giri's 88th minute strike earned Indian Arrows their second win of the season as they downed Kenkre FC 1-0 -- the ninth loss for the Mumbai outfit, who are yet to open their account.
Indian Arrows now have nine points from 11 matches.
RoundGlass Punjab FC picked up their fourth win in a row in the I-League. They defeated Manipuri outfit TRAU FC by a 1-0 margin. Striker Kurtis Guthrie scored the decisive goal of the game in the 35th minute.
Also read : First time winners guaranteed as Kerala take on first timers Hyderabad
News Source : PTI
Visa issues cause seven Indian players to miss trip to Bahrain
Manama, Mar 22 (Football News) Seven of India's national football team players, who were supposed to play in an international friendly against higher-ranked Bahrain on Wednesday,in all likelihood will miss the match as they could not travel along with the team from Mumbai due to visa-related issues.
Eighteen players out of the 25-member squad as well as head coach Igor Stimac and the support staff reached Manama on Monday, where the national team will lock horns in international friendlies against hosts Bahrain on Wednesday and against Belarus on Saturday.
Goalkeeper Amrinder Singh, defender Chinglensana Singh and Akash Mishra and midfielders Anirudh Thapa, Brandon Fernandes, Aniket Yadav and Bipin Singh could not board the flight along with their team-mates on Monday as their visa approval did not come on time.
"We faced difficulties in our travel. Seven players (out of 25) are left out in Mumbai, still waiting for their visa approval which we had applied two months ago," Stimac said in a virtual press conference.
"Hopefully, they will by today get the permission (visa approval) and fly out from there (Mumbai) and join the squad by tonight. Otherwise, we can't be optimistic that they will be involved in the match tomorrow." An All India Football Federation (AIFF) source said the visas of the seven players came on Tuesday and they will be leaving for Bahrain on Wednesday.
"The visas of all the players came today and they are flying out tomorrow," the source told PTI.
Earlier, he said all the seven players could fly out of Mumbai by Tuesday itself.
Stimac is unsure about the strategy he will employ on Wednesday against a strong side like Bahrain if the seven players are not available for the match.
"I don't know what I will do in such a circumstance. I have to see how many players are available at the end of the day here at Manama. (If the seven are not available, I will try to put the best available XI and try few things," he said.
India has never beaten Bahrain in its football history, the drawn match (0-0) in 1982 being its best result so far.
In the last meeting between the two sides in the 2019 Asian Cup in the UAE, Bahrain had emerged victorious through a stoppage-time goal from a spot kick. Till then, India under Stephen Constantine was on the verge of booking a historic knock-out berth in the Asian Cup.
News Source: PTI
First time winners guaranteed as Kerala take on first timers Hyderabad
Fatorda, Mar 19 (Football News) The Indian Super League will have a new winner after Kerala Blasters go up against a resurgent Hyderabad FC in the final here on Sunday.
While it would be Hyderabad’s maiden final appearance, Kerala Blasters will be competing in the final for the third time. In 2014 and 2016, Kerala Blasters had made it to the finals, but on both occasions, they had lost to erstwhile ATK, and thus their dream of winning the coveted ISL Trophy remained unfulfilled.
Hyderabad FC qualified after a 3-2 win on aggregate over ATK Mohun Bagan despite losing the second leg of the semi-final 0-1. Hyderabad had won the first leg 3-1 through goals from Bartholomew Ogbeche, Yasir Mohammad, and Javier Siverio.
On the other hand, Kerala Blasters FC entered the ISL final for the first time since 2016 after playing out a 1-1 draw with Jamshedpur FC and pipped the League Shield winners 2-1 on aggregate over double leg semi-finals. In the first leg, Sahal Abdul Samad scored the only goal in a 1-0 win for Kerala.
For Hyderabad, a lot would depend on how their star striker Bartholomew Ogbeche fares against the Kerala defence.
The 37-year-old Nigerian forward, who is the season's leading goal-scorer with 18 goals to his name from 19 matches, and is the highest goal-scorer in ISL history with 53 goals.
However, Ogbeche would need support from other strikers Javier Siverio, who has netted seven times this season and Joel Chianese (4 goals).
Also the role of midfielder Joao Victor, the captain, who has five goals to his name would also be crucial.
Victor could serve as a key link between strikers and defence and with his prowess can turn the game on its head.
Hyderabad also possess an array of good mid-fielders including Aniket Jadhav, experienced Halicharan Narzary, Souvik Chakrabarti and they will have to play to perfection.
Hyderabad custodian Laxmikant Kattimani would be aiming to keep a clean-sheet.
Hyderabad also have 46 goals this season, the highest for any team, 10 more than their opponents Kerala Blasters and thus going into the final, they could have a slight upper hand.
Meanwhile, for Kerala their top goalscorer this season has been their star striker Jorge Pereyra Diaz (8 goals). And for them, the 31-year-old Argentine will have to be at his best and need to fire on all cylinders.
Also, Diaz coupled with Alvaro Vazquez form a lethal pair and the Hyderabad defence would indeed be vary of them.
In what comes as a major blow, Kerala are certain to miss the services of mid-fielder Sahal Abdul Samad through a thigh injury.
A lot will depend on mid-field duo Lalthathanga Khawlhring and Ayush Adhikari, ably supported by Marko Leskovic and defensive partner Hormipam Ruivah, fresh off a national team call-up.
Also, this would be the first occasion since the outbreak of COVID-19, the fans would be in the stands cheering for favorite teams and a 100 per cent crowd has been allowed, so a ‘sea of yellow’ is expected to turn up at the venue.
Also, Indian football legend IM Vijayan, chief national coach Igor Stimac would be in attendance for the summit clash.
Match starts at 7.30 PM IST.
Also Read : Will Eden Hazard be a good signing for Arsenal?
News Source : PTI
Rock-solid Kerala Blasters hold Jamshedpur 1-1, enter ISL final
Vasco, Mar 15 (Football News) Kerala Blasters FC entered the ISL final for the first time since 2016 after playing out a 1-1 draw with Jamshedpur FC on Tuesday and pipping the League Shield winners 2-1 on aggregate over double leg semi-finals.
Adrian Luna (18th) opened the scoring for Kerala with a stunning goal before Pronay Halder (50th) pulled one back for the Red Miners, who needed one more goal to take the game to extra time but another solid performance by the Kerala backline ensured they held firm to confirm a place in the summit clash.
In the first leg, Sahal Abdul Samad scored the only goal in a 1-0 win for Kerala who made it to their third ISL final. They were the finalists in the inaugural 2014 edition as well.
The yellow shirts started the second leg without the injured Sahal but showed no signs of slowing down, almost taking the lead inside the first two minutes had Alvaro Vazquez not tried to be cheeky when one on one with the keeper, dinking the ball over T.P. Rehenesh in Jamshedpur goal and wide of the far post.
Four minutes later, Vazquez got possession deep inside his own half to then set up Ayush Adhikari but Rehenesh was alert to the danger, coming out of his line in time. Kerala found a lot of joy as Jamshedpur full-backs pushed forward leaving a lot of spaces for their rivals to exploit.
Adhikari got another chance from a Jorge Diaz cross but Jamshedpur skipper Peter Hartley put his body on the line to snuff out the danger.
Vazquez atoned for his miss earlier in the half soon after, flicking on a delightful pass from the left flank for Luna who darted in, dropped a shoulder and curled a side-footed effort past Rehenesh and into the right corner.
At the break, Kerala led 2-0 on aggregate. Five minutes into the re-start, Halder nicked one in to get Jamshedpur back in the game, poking in a Stewart corner which was initially met by Chima whose header lacked power and fell to Halder who netted from two yards out. But that wasn't going to be enough for Jamshedpur.
Also Read : I-League: RoundGlass Punjab FC goes down 1-2 against Sreenidi Deccan FC
News Source : PTI
Hyderabad rally to beat ATKMB 3-1, put one foot in final
Bambolim, Mar 12 (Football News Hyderabad FC put one foot in what would be their maiden final appearance after scripting a come-from-behind 3-1 win over ATK Mohun Bagan in the first-leg of the Indian Super League second semifinal here on Saturday.
Roy Krishna helped ATKMB take the lead but the Kolkata side's joy was short-lived as Bartholomew Ogbeche (45th) equalised at the stroke of half time before Yasir Mohammad (58th) and Javier Siviero (64th) sealed Hyderabad's victory.
The two teams will go up against each other again on Wednesday for the second leg with ATKMB needing to find the back of the net at least twice to stand a chance of advancing to their second successive summit clash.
ATKMB seemed to be the better side in the opening exchanges. Hyderabad did miss Asish Rai and his absence was felt most when they fell behind early on in the game.
Liston Colaco was once again to the fore, causing more than a few problems for Nim Dorjee Tamang who was eventually sold to the guile of the former Hyderabad winger as he made him turn inside out to cross for Krishna who got in front of his marker and stabbed home.
Akash Mishra was at fault for not marking Krishna properly but Nim Dorjee never quite had the measure of Colaco at the first place, with the fleet-footed winger bursting forward after receiving the ball and outwitting Nim Dorjee to whip in a delightful cross.
Hyderabad saw more of the ball but it was not bearing fruit as ATKMB dropped deep when needed to starve the likes of Javier Siviero and Ogbeche service from the middle of the park or the full backs.
It was after the cooling break that Ogbeche, not getting enough balls, took it upon himself and dribbled past a few green and maroons shirts displaying amazing skills but in the end failed to make the most out of it.
Ogbeche's industriousness, though, did not go in vain as he found the back of the net just before the half time whistle. It was a record-shattering goal, the Nigerian equalling the record for the most goals in a single season after Juanan dinked the ball for him to nod home from close.
Yasir Mohammad's corner was not cleared by ATKMB defenders and the ball fell to Juanan who saw Ogbeche at the right place at the right time. Sandesh Jhingan shook his head, knowing he could have done better when Ogbeche beat him for the goal as both teams headed back into the tunnel locked at 1-1.
The second half belonged to Hyderabad as they pumped in two goals in the space of six minutes to script a comeback after an underwhelming first 45 minutes.
It was a double blow for ATKMB as not only Yasir Mohammad scored a goal after Jhingan and Tiri collided in an attempt to clear the ball near the box. Yasir smashed home from outside the box, but Tiri had to be stretchered off. Minutes later, Siviero headed in from a corner to make it 3-1.
Ogbeche was everywhere in the second period for Manolo Marquez's side, his spadework helping Yasir Mohammad get the goal. At the other end, Joni Kauko fired a volley wide from a Hugo Boumous cut-in from the byline.
In the dying minutes, ATKMB desperately looked for a goal to trim the margin with substitute Kiyan Nassiri coming closest as he found the post from close range.
Also Read : Gokulam thrash Kenkre 6-2, TRAU stun Churchill Brothers 2-0 in I-League
News Source : PTI
Jamshedpur FC to miss Mobashir in League Shield decider
New Delhi, Mar 6 (Football News) The All India Football Federation's (AIFF) disciplinary committee has handed a two-match suspension to Jamshedpur FC's Mohammad Mobashir Rahman and fined him Rs. 1.5 lakh after being found guilty of "violent conduct" during his side's ISL match against Hyderabad FC.
Mobashir will be ineligible for selection in the League Shield deciding match between Jamshedpur FC and ATK Mohun Bagan on Monday.
The player has already served an automatic one-match ban in Jamshedpur FC's previous match against Odisha FC.
Also Read : SC East Bengal end season rock-bottom as Bengaluru signs off with a win
News Source : PTI
SC East Bengal end season rock-bottom as Bengaluru signs off with a win
Vasco, Mar 5 (Football News) SC East Bengal ended their disastrous Indian Super League (ISL) campaign at the rock bottom of the table after losing 0-1 to Bengaluru FC in their last match of the season here on Saturday.
Sunil Chhetri's solitary strike (24th) proved to be the difference, bagging three points for Marco Pezzaiuoli's men in their final fixture of their 2021-22 campaign.
The result meant that the Kolkata-based club finished the season in the bottom-place on the points table, with only one win in 20 matches. On the other hand, Bengaluru FC finished in sixth place as they secured 29 points overall.
Antonio Perosevic tested Lara Sharma in the goal from a free-kick early in the match but the custodian made a fine save.
The game was evenly balanced until a moment of individual brilliance from Chhetri who broke the deadlock. The skipper controlled a long ball on his chest and slotted the shot into the bottom left corner to give the lead to the Blues in the 24th minute.
Udanta Singh then came close to scoring but saw his long-range shot hit the crossbar at the stroke of half-hour.
The first half did not have any more goals apart from a lot of goalmouth action from both teams.
The Red & Gold brigade suffered a setback by losing Perosevic to an ankle injury, who was replaced by Marcelo Ribeiro.
The second half saw a harder push for the second goal from Bengaluru FC. However, they handed a gift to Thongkhosiem Haokip at the hour mark only for him to lift his chip sail way over the bar.
A whole host of changes were made by both coaches to give time to youngsters and inject more energy in the match after the hour mark.
Bengaluru came close to extending their lead, courtesy Chhetri, whose powerful drive was parried away by Suvam Sen in SCEB's goal.
Ananta Tamang and Sen them combined a few minutes later to deny a second goal to Chhetri.
Also Read : Jamshedpur FC aim to consolidate lead at top with win over Odisha
News Source : PTI
Jamshedpur FC aim to consolidate lead at top with win over Odisha
Bambolim, Mar 3 (Football News) Jamshedpur FC will look to consolidate their lead at the top of the standings when they take on Odisha FC in an Indian Super League match here on Friday.
Jamshedpur continued their red-hot form with a clinical 3-0 victory over depleted Hyderabad FC to rise to the top of the heap. Owen Coyle's side made it five wins on the bounce, amassing 37 points from 18 matches to qualify for the semifinals for the first time in the club's history.
Jamshedpur are in a spectacular run of form at the moment, winning eight of their last nine games. Their only loss in this period came against Bengaluru FC.
With Kerala Blasters winning against Mumbai City FC, Jamshedpur are guaranteed a top-three finish, but Coyle would eye a top spot given their dominance throughout the league stages.
In the last game, Jamshedpur once again proved they are one of the best teams in set-pieces this season, as they scored two goals from corners in their 3-0 win.
Skipper Peter Hartley scored his third goal of the season, all coming from corners which augurs well for the Red Miners in addition to the firepower they have upfront.
Greg Stewart missed the last game due to suspension and the Scotsman's return will only add to the team's strength.
Meanwhile, Odisha could not make it to the semi-finals but there have been improvements from their disastrous season last time.
Odisha started strongly, winning three of their first four games, but inconsistency wrecked their season apart, through the club's unpredictable performances on both ends of the pitch.
The Kino Garcia-coached side, languishing at seventh place with 23 points from 19 matches, will look to end the season on a high.
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Kerala inch closer to semifinals with 3-1 win over Mumbai
Vasco, Mar 2 (Football News) Kerala Blasters FC brightened their semifinal prospects with a 3-1 win over Mumbai City FC in the Indian Super League here on Wednesday.
Alvaro Vazquez (45th P, 60th) scored a brace either side of halftime after Sahal Abdul Samad (19th) opened the floodgates for Kerala, who are now in fourth spot having 33 points from 19 games.
They take on FC Goa in their final fixture while Mumbai -- in fifth spot with 31 points from 19 matches -- play Hyderabad FC in their last league game, hoping Kerala lose to Goa and they win against Hyderabad.
For Mumbai, Diego Mauricio scored a consolation goal from the spot in the 71st minute.
Both teams started cautiously in the opening exchanges before Sahal showed individual brilliance to help Kerala nose ahead.
A botched clearance from Cassio Gabriel saw Sahal rob the ball off him to then twist and turn past the Brazilian and a couple of more Mumbai shirts before drilling a low shot past Mohamad Nawaz who was perhaps blinded by the defenders in front of him as the ball nestled into the net.
It was Sahal's fifth goal of the campaign, underlining his upturn in form.
Mumbai tried to forge an immediate comeback but it was not to be as Kerala doubled their lead, albeit a penalty after Mourtada Fall brought him down inside the area.
The Spaniard was ice-cool from the spot, pausing in his run-up to send Nawaz the wrong way with aplomb.
At halftime, Kerala were cruising with a 2-0 verdict. Kerala also scored another at the start of the second period but Luna's exceptional effort from outside the box was well saved by Nawaz.
The yellow shirts did not have to wait long for the third goal, Nawaz making a meal of an easy clearance this time after Fall back passed to him. Vazquez needed no second invitation as he slotted home into an open goal.
Mumbai pulled one back after Mauricio went down inside the box from what looked like a Ruivah Hormipam push but as Kerala players appealed the decision the referee pointed to the spot.
Mauricio stepped up and slammed home from the spot to make it 3-1. Luna could have had a goal moments later as his free-kick was pushed as far as the post by Nawaz as Kerala held on to win 3-1 and sharpen their semi final chances.
Also Read : ISL: Harmanjot Khabra banned for Kerala Blasters FC's last 2 league matches
News Source : PTI
ISL: Harmanjot Khabra banned for Kerala Blasters FC's last 2 league matches
New Delhi, Mar 2 (Football news) The All India Football Federation's (AIFF) disciplinary committee on Wednesday slapped a two-match suspension and a fine of Rs 1.5 lakh on Kerala Blasters FC mid-fielder Harmanjot Singh Khabra.
Khabra was found guilty of "hitting an opponent when not challenging for the ball" after being charged with "violent conduct' in an Indian Super League match against Hyderabad FC last month.
Upon investigating video footage of the incident, the AIFF body show caused the player.
In his written response, Khabra regretted "making an error in sporting judgment and acting in a manner which is not in line with the laws of the game and it was never his intention to hurt Sahil Tavora." The committee called upon for an additional hearing and passed their verdict on Tuesday. Khabra will remain suspended for Kerala Blasters FC's last two ISL league-stage matches this season against Mumbai City FC (March 2) and FC Goa (March 6).
The 33-year-old will be eligible for selection next if Kerala Blasters FC reach the semi-finals.
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News Source : PTI
ATK Mohun Bagan ends Bengaluru FC's semifinal hopes
Margao, Feb 27 (Football News) ATK Mohun Bagan took a big step towards booking a semi-final spot with a 2-0 win over Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) here on Sunday.
The defeat ended all hopes for the Blues of making it into the top-four. As for the Mariners, they remained third, level on points with second-placed Jamshedpur FC.
Liston Colaco (45+1) scored his eighth goal of the season from a sensational free-kick to give his team the lead. Manvir Singh (85th) added a second goal late in the game to put the result beyond doubt.
An early chance saw Colaco testing Lara Sharma from a direct free-kick, but the goalkeeper was steadfast in collecting the ball.
On the other end, Cleiton Silva threatened to score but managed to send his volley above the crossbar. At the half-hour mark, Sunil Chhetri was left unmarked in the box but his header went off-target, much to his disappointment.
The Mariners suffered a setback in the first half as Hugo Boumous was substituted in the 40th minute, possibly due to an injury.
Just when it looked like both teams will go into the half-time break without scoring a goal, the deadlock was broken with a moment of individual brilliance. Colaco’s powerful direct free-kick beat Sharma in the goal to give the lead to ATKMB.
Nine minutes after the restart, Manvir Singh found acres of space behind BFC’s backline, but poor decision-making on his part saw his shot getting blocked.
Moments later, Colaco was serviced by Kauko but saw his shot hit the left post.
The Blues dominated possession in the final stage of the match but struggled to create clear scoring chances.
Manvir then scored against the run of play in the 85th minute with a precise finish.
ATK Mohun Bagan will lock horns with Chennaiyin FC in their next outing here on Thursday while Bengaluru FC will play SC East Bengal in their last league game of the season at Vasco on Saturday.
Also Read : Kerala thrash Chennaiyin to keep semis hope alive
News Source : PTI
At first I declined offer to join ISL: league's highest scorer Ogbeche
Margao, Feb 21 (Football News) Ace Nigerian forward Bartholomew Ogbeche, who recently surpassed Indian captain Sunil Chhetri to become the highest scorer in the ISL, says he declined the initial offer to join the league.
Veteran striker Chhetri recently became the first player to cross the 50-goal mark in the Indian Super League with a fine performance against Hyderabad FC.
Both Chhetri and Hyderabad's Ogbeche were on 49 goals each, when the India captain won the race to reach the half-century milestone.
The four season-old Ogbeche, however, overtook the Bengaluru skipper with a brace during Hyderabad's 3-2 victory over the weekend. While the Nigerian striker took his league tally to 51 goals, his 16 goals in as many games this season puts him in a position to win the Golden Boot award.
Ogebeche reached the 50-goal mark in just 73 games, 38 lesser than Chhetri.
Ogbeche, speaking on ISL's weekly podcast Lets Football Live, revealed he almost declined the opportunity to join the ISL.
"At first I declined to be completely honest. I said no, I was not going to go there," Ogbeche said.
The Nigerian striker was reassured by friend and former ATK striker Kalu Uche to take up the offer from NorthEast United FC in 2018.
"However, I had a friend who played in ISL. I spoke to him and did my due diligence. I heard a lot of fantastic things about ISL and gave it a second thought.
"Offers came back a second time, I said I would think about it. When they came for the third time, I took it more seriously," Ogbeche said.
Into his fourth ISL season, Ogbeche has represented four different clubs and racked up 49 goals from 71 appearances. He has scored 12 for NorthEast United in his first season and followed it up with 15 at Kerala Blasters in 2019-20.
Last season, Ogbeche joined Mumbai City, for whom he scored eight goals and ended up winning the enviable double -- the ISL trophy and the League shield. Currently, he has scored 14 goals for Hyderabad, topping this season's goal-scoring charts.
Ogbeche in hindsight felt assured he made the right move to join ISL against the wishes of his close ones.
"Friends and family suggested not to move to India at the time. But I listened to my heart and was convinced that I was making the right choice for my career. It turned out to be a shrewd decision and I am really thankful." The 37-year-old credited his formative years at the Paris Saint Germain academy for his longevity.
"I feel I am doing the best job in the world. There are millions in the world who would love to do what I am doing." "I was very lucky to have played with some of the best players to have ever played the game at the very start of my career. Ronaldinho, Jay-Jay Okocha, and Nicolas Anelka took me under their wings like a little brother, and that shaped me both as a footballer and a person."
Also Read : Bengaluru, Odisha lock horns in must-win game for both teams
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Bengaluru, Odisha lock horns in must-win game for both teams
Bambolim, Feb 20 (Football News) Former champions Bengaluru FC and Odisha FC will lock horns in a must-win game for both the teams in the Indian Super League (ISL), here on Monday.
Bengaluru are sixth in the points table with 23 points from 17 games, four adrift of fourth-placed Kerala Blasters. Odisha are a spot below them at seventh position having 22 points from 17 encounters.
The Blues saw their nine-game unbeaten streak coming to a halt against leaders Hyderabad and then suffered another defeat to lowly NorthEast United FC, derailing their fresh hopes of a semifinal berth to a certain extent.
"We need to focus only on this game. There are three points to win, and we need to improve. We played well for 20 minutes against NorthEast United, then we gave up. It was the same in the second half and that’s why we conceded two goals," Bengaluru head coach Marco Pezzaiuoli said at the pre-match press conference.
"Odisha is a very good team on the counter-press and if you give them space like we saw in the first game that we lost, they can score goals," he said of their opponents.
Bengaluru rely on set pieces more for their goals while Odisha are one of the highest scorers from open play in Hero ISL 21-22.
Bengaluru are the joint top scorers from set-pieces in Hero ISL 21-22 scoring 17 from dead ball situations this season, sharing the record with Jamshedpur FC.
When it comes to open play, Odisha have scored 21 goals from open play, more than half of the goals.
The Blues will also bank on in-form forward Cleiton Silva to help the team with the goals, as will Odisha who will depend heavily on Jonathas Cristian to deliver the goods upfront.
The two Brazilians are the leading scorers for their respective teams and find themselves among the top scorers this season.
Jonathas has scored in each of his last 5 league games. After his goal against Chennaiyin FC in Odisha FC's last league game, he became the first Odisha FC player to score in 5 straight league games.
Cleiton Silva, on the other hand, has scored in two of his last three league games. Only Greg Stewart (7) has scored more goals from set pieces this season than Cleiton Silva (6).
"It's normal in football that you need other teams to give you results. But we can only control ourselves, but if I am going to think about opponents to help us, that won't help. I need to focus on my team and our own results," Pezzaiuoli further said.
Odisha too have to win their remaining games in order to keep their semifinal hopes alive and Kino Garcia said the team will fight till the last minute of this campaign.
"We know that this is going to be difficult. We still have a chance and everybody want to compete until the end. Against Bengaluru, we know that both teams need a victory to arrive in the last two matches will little hope.
"So we are motivated and the mood in the camp is okay. We need to learn from our mistakes and keep going," he said.
The last time the two teams met in their first game of the season, Odisha ran out 3-1 winners but Garcia refused to read too much into that.
"That is too long ago. We can't think about that now, that was the start of the season. Bengaluru are a good team and had a run of unbeaten games before losing to NorthEast United.
"So we know it will be a difficult game for us. We have an advantage in physical condition (of the players) as we could rest two days more. But it will be difficult for both teams."
Also Read : Bagan got top of table after heated 2-2 draw with Kerala
Bagan got top of table after heated 2-2 draw with Kerala
Vasco da Gama, Feb 19 (Football News) ATK Mohun Bagan moved to the top of the table and Kerala Blasters FC entered the top-four after the two sides played out an entertaining 2-2 draw in the Indian Super League here on Saturday.
Adrian Luna (7', 64') opened the scoring for Kerala before David Williams (8') drew level inside one minute.
In the second half, Luna scored his second and handed Kerala the lead back but in stoppage time Joni Kauko (90+7') made it 2-2 to break Kerala hearts at the Tilak Maidan Stadium.
The result means Kerala now have 27 points from 16 games and sit in fourth place while ATK Mohun Bagan moved to the top of the table for the time being with 30 points from 16 outings.
The game was off to a frantic start as both teams scored in the space of one minute. Kerala took the lead inside the first eight minutes, Luna curling in a sumptous free kick up and over the wall and into the left corner leaving Amrinder Singh stranded in ATKMB goal.
One minute later, ATKMB equalised. Pritam Kotal sent in a low cross first time for Williams to thump home on the run.
Both teams settled down a bit after the high-tempo start before Liston Colaco's effort was palmed away by Prabhsukhan Gill and Lalthathanga Khawlhring's rasping left-footer was tipped onto the crossbar by Amrinder for a corner.
Alvaro Vazquez also saw his first-time attempt sail over the woodwork after Jorge Diaz did well to set up his teammate. At halftime, both teams were level at 1-1.
At the start of the second half, ATKMB head coach Juan Ferrando replaced goalscorer Williams with Hugo Boumous and the Frenchman did have an impact, controlling play in the middle of the park and drawing fouls in important areas of the pitch. But it was Kerala who took the lead for the second time in the match.
Luna scored a peach of a goal after Khawlhring got the ball on the edge of the box and chipped it to Luna who chested it down, cut in and slammed the ball into the top corner.
Both teams traded punches till the last minute with substitute Kiyan Nasiri getting a golden opportunity to draw level but for a brilliant block. From the resultant corner, Sandesh Jhingan's header was tipped over the bar.
Prabir Das was sent off moments later for a rash challenged on Luna as the game reached feverpitch before Kauko made it 2-2 from a Boumous pass inside the box, the Finland international letting fly a powerful shot past Gill and into the goal. Diaz was also shown a red card when he was on the bench for dissent.
Also Read : Semifinal aspirants ATKMB and Kerala Blasters cross swords in marquee clash
News Source : PTI
Semifinal aspirants ATKMB and Kerala Blasters cross swords in marquee clash
Vasco, Feb 18 (Football News) Kerala Blasters FC will look to halt ATK Mohun Bagan's winning run and cut the gap with them when the two sides meet in a rescheduled Indian Super League match here on Saturday.
Kerala sit in fourth place with 26 points from 15 games while ATKMB have also played as many games, winning their last three matches and are breathing down league leaders Hyderabad FC's neck with the same number of points (29) but with inferior goal difference.
ATKMB have done exceedingly well under Juan Ferrando, especially in the absence of key foreign players. Indian forwards Liston Colaco and Manvir Singh have thrived to keep the Mariners in the top four this season.
Colaco leads the Indian scorers with seven goals while Manvir is at the joint second spot with five.
Manvir became the first Indian player to score in three successive games in the ISL and the third ATKMB player to score in three straight games after Roy Krishna and David Williams.
Colaco has been brilliant in almost every game for the green and maroons, linking up beautifully with the midfield and supplying some delightful balls.
"The job of the coaching staff is to help all the players and keep the squad ready. I am upset because sometimes the performance is not great but that is for every team. The players are playing for a short period so it's not easy. The players in our team want to help the team," said Ferrando.
"Our plan is different against Kerala like it is for every game. We want to win the league and so it's necessary to win all games. There is no other option. Kerala also have a great opportunity to win the league like us so tomorrow's game is like a final you know," added the Spaniard.
ATKMB can also rely on Indian players to get them the goals. Seventeen of ATKMB's 31 goals have been scored by Indian players. No team has had a greater number of goals scored by Indian players this season.
For Kerala, they have kept their backline relatively tight and that has been a bedrock for their success. They have kept six clean sheets this season.
Prabsukhan Gill leads the race for Golden Glove with five clean sheets in 12 games. The young goalkeeper has conceded 10 goals in 12 games this season. "We will fight to stay on top. It's good that we have all players available for selection and we will see how the training goes and then we will decide on our XI," said Kerala head coach Ivan Vukomanovic.
Centre-back Marko Leskovic is back again after the last game and Vukomanovic will now have to decide whether to bring him back or give Enes Sipovic another go after the defender scored in the last game.
Adrian Luna, Alvaro Vazquez and Jorge Pereyra Díaz have all been brilliant in the attacking third for Kerala.
"We will see about the combination (of foreigners) after training today. Only four of them can play so we will take that call," he added.
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News Source : PTI