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Indian Super League: Kerala Blasters FC eye win over Bengaluru FC to stay in hunt

Even if Kerala Blasters FC register a win over Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League (ISL), their qualification will depend on the result of the matches of other teams -- FC Goa, Mumbai City FC and Chennayin FC.

football Updated: Feb 28, 2018 16:33 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, Bengaluru
Indian Super League,ISL,Kerala Blasters FC
Kerala Blasters FC will take on Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) on Thursday. (ISL )

Kerala Blasters FC will look to keep themselves in contention for a play-off berth when they take on table-toppers Bengaluru FC in their last league match of the Indian Super League (ISL), on Thursday.

Currently, the Blasters are placed at fifth spot with 25 points after they managed only one point in their goal-less draw against Chennaiyin FC, which made things difficult for them.

(Read | Delhi Dynamos FC shatter Mumbai City FC’s ISL play-off hopes with 5-1 hammering)

Even if Blasters register a win, their qualification will depend on the result of the matches of other teams -- FC Goa, Mumbai City FC and Chennayin FC.

Blasters would also like to avoid playing Super-Cup qualifiers by finishing at least in top six.

The visitors had a disappointing start to this ISL season and their chances of qualifying looked dismal but by appointing David James in place of Rene Meulensteen as head coach, the side seemed to have made a right call as the former managed to keep the team in the hunt.

(Read | Mohun Bagan beat Indian Arrows to keep I-League title hopes alive)

The presence of Lalruatthara, who has been a key performer, will boost Blasters’ defence. He would be on alert to squeeze out scoring chances coming from Bengaluru strikers’ foot.

Lakic-Pesic and Wes Brown would like to stay away from the prying eyes of the referee as they are one yellow card away from suspension.

On the other hand, Bengaluru, pitted as tournament favourites, have already qualified for the semifinals. They have been making tremendous strides in their debut ISL appearance right from the start.

(Read | Real Madrid didn’t deserve to lose against Espanyol, says manager Zinedine Zidane)

The hosts have won 12 matches and lost four matches and drawn one in 17 matches, and have been on a roll by remaining undefeated in their last six matches, which included five victories.

Striker Miku and Captain Sunil Chhetri have been the main driving force as they scored 25 goals between them, out of 33 goals that the team scored. The Indian striker has scored 11 and Miku 13 goals.

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu didn’t start on a high note, but found form and played vital role in some of Bengaluru victories.

Albert Roca’s side can afford a defeat, but would like to be focused on maintaining the winning tempo ahead of the knockout stage.

First Published: Feb 28, 2018 16:31 IST