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ISL: Chennaiyin FC take on Kerala Blasters FC in 'South India' derby

While Chennaiyin will look to consolidate their position in the points table, Kerala Blasters FC will be seeking their first points in the competition.

Subhasish Dutta | News18 Sports

Updated:October 21, 2014, 9:13 AM IST
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ISL: Chennaiyin FC take on Kerala Blasters FC in 'South India' derby
While Chennaiyin will look to consolidate their position in the points table, Kerala Blasters FC will be seeking their first points in the competition.

Chennai: After kicking off their Indian Super League campaign with an away win against FC Goa, Chennaiyin FC will be looking for an encore when they take on Kerala Blasters FC in the their first home match on Wednesday.

While Chennaiyin will look to consolidate their position in the points table, Kerala Blasters FC will be seeking their first points in the competition in the 'South Indian' derby at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here.

Chennai, a franchise co-owned by Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan and Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni among others, started their campaign with a 1-2 win over FC Goa in a spirited encounter while Kerala went down to Northeast United FC in their tournament opener.

With three points in their kitty, the hosts are placed fourth on the standings while the visiting side is struggling at the bottom of the heap.

Chennaiyin may have lost their Swedish midfielder Pierre Tillman and Spanish striker Eduardo Silva Lerma due to contractual issues but they have announced the replacements with signings of former Manchester United and Cameroon midfielder Eric Djemba Djemba and former PSG forward Jean-Eudes Maurice.

The 33-year-old Cameroon player has played for his national team in 24 appearances, including the 2002 FIFA World Cup and the victorious 2002 African Cup of Nations campaign.

Meanwhile, Maurice is a former Paris Saint-Germain player with stints at Lens and Le Mans in the French top tier.

The presence of Elano and Balwant Singh, who became the first Indian player to score in the inaugural ISL, make them the favourites for Wednesday's clash.

Chennai's defence is one of the strongest in the league and they have showed their class in the clash against FC Goa. With the likes of Gouramangi Singh - a jewel in Chennai's defence - in their ranks, the hosts' back-line will be hard to breach for Kerala strikers.

"It's our first home match of the season and we are really excited for it. It will be a big match for us. We want to win it and give our fans a winning start at home," Gouramangi told IBNLive Sports.

Meanwhile, Kerala Blasters, co-owned by legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, will bank on their marquee player David James and CS Sabeeth to register their first win.

James, a former English Premier League star, made 53 appearances for England between 1997 and 2010 and was the first-choice goalkeeper during the team's Euro 2004 and the 2010 World Cup campaigns. Whereas young Indian striker Sabeeth displayed enough class in the last match and in spite of failing to score impressed with his shot-taking abilities.

One more player who might be an inspiration in the Kerala ranks is former Newcastle United striker Michael Chopra. His experience will be a key factor for the team.

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