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ISL 2019-20: Chennaiyin FC, Kerala Blasters Renew Rivalry in Crucial Clash

Indian Super League 2019-20: Chennaiyin FC host Kerala Blasters with both teams desperate for a win.

News18 Sports

Updated:December 20, 2019, 7:48 AM IST
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ISL 2019-20: Chennaiyin FC, Kerala Blasters Renew Rivalry in Crucial Clash
Kerala Blasters take on Chennaiyin FC. (Photo Credit: ISL)

Chennai: Chennaiyin FC and Kerala Blasters FC will resume their rivalry in a crucial Indian Super League 2019-20 clash on Friday as they are fast running out of time to turn their campaigns around. The Southern rivals haven't had much to show all season and will desperately look to get back on track whe they clash at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Chennai.

The teams are placed at the wrong end of the points table with Chennaiyin in the 9th position with just 6 points while the visitors are a spot above with seven points.

"The first home game is exciting against a very good side. The players have worked very well. We have quality and I think Kerala are a very good side. They look like they have a fully fit side. We are respectful of them but we do not 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. 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.

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 are playing now is very different. We have 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 have dominated teams like Bengaluru, Goa etc. We are 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.

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.

"We like to press when we can, go after the opponent when we can. You saw that against Jamshedpur FC. We want to play at a high intensity. That's what we are trying to do. The players know what the plan is and we are ready to try and win," said Coyle.

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