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ISL preview: Chennaiyin FC, Kerala Blasters look to iron out final minute blushes

Chennaiyin FC vs Kerala Blasters

Bengaluru, December 19: Chennaiyin FC and Kerala Blasters FC will have rivalry on their mind, but more than anything will realise that they are fast running out of time.

The Southern rivals have not had much to show all season and will look to get back on track as they clash in the Indian Super League (ISL) tie at Chennai on Friday (December 20).

The teams are placed at the wrong end of the ISL table with Chennaiyin in ninth position (six points) while the visitors are a spot above with seven points.

ISL Fixtures | Results | Points Table | Special page

New coach

New coach

"The first home game is exciting against a very good side. The players have worked very well. We've quality and I think Kerala are a very good side. They look like they have a fully fit side. We're respectful of them but we don't fear any team," said Chennaiyin's new coach Owen Coyle.

Chennaiyin, with the worst attacking record in the league so far, have been guilty of starting matches slowly, scoring just one first-half goal in seven matches.

More sources

More sources

They have also spurned a lot of opportunities and need to find more sources for goals. Out of their five goals, four of them have come from the boot of Lithuanian marksman Nerijus Valskis.

An inability to close out games is also hurting the former champions. They have conceded late goals in each of their last three matches, the latest of which was against Jamshedpur FC where they were leading 1-0 before Issac Vanmalsawma equalised in the 89th minute.

Turn the tables

Turn the tables

It has not been a season to remember for Kerala too. They are now on a seven-game winless run, and will have to turn the tables quick.

"The brand of football we're playing now is very different. We've dominated matches, but there have been errors. But that is due to a lack of concentration. Despite having a lot of injuries, our players have shown a lot of character. We've dominated teams like Bengaluru, Goa etc. We're working on the individual errors and hopefully, we can improve," said Kerala Blasters' assistant coach Ishfaq Ahmed.

With Raphael Messi Bouli finding some form upfront with four goals from the last three games, Kerala's attack has looked a bit brighter and coach Eelco Schattorie will hope their fortunes take a turn for the better. The possible return of Bartholomew Ogbeche will further improve Kerala's attack while the likes of Mario Arques and Jeakson Singh will have an important role to play in the middle of the park.

Kick-off time, TV listings

Kick-off time, TV listings

Chennaiyin, on the other hand, will be pumped up for Coyle's first home game in charge of the team. The new manager wants his team to play a high-intensity game and the players will be eager to impress the new coach and earn a spot in the starting XI.

The match begins at 7.30pm IST at Chennai's Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and will be shown live on Star Sports 2/HD. Live streaming is available on Hotstar.

(Source: ISL Media)

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Story first published: Thursday, December 19, 2019, 18:01 [IST]
Other articles published on Dec 19, 2019
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