Bengaluru vs Kerala Blasters: Preview and Prediction

unnamed   2024 03 05T184936.687
Bengaluru would be hoping to exact revenge on Kerala Blasters

Matchday 17 of the 2023-24 Indian Super League season kicks off with a double-header on Saturday and the Southern Derby between Bengaluru and Kerala Blasters will be the headlining fixture as two teams with different aims will clash for three crucial points at the Sree Kantaveera Outdoor Stadium from 7:30 PM IST.

Ivan Vukamanvoic’s Blasters are in fifth position with 29 points from 16 matches and the Tuskers would be aiming to finish in the top two positions to avoid playing the knockout matches in the playoffs and get direct qualification to the semi-final stage.

On the other hand, Bengaluru has had a turbulent season signified by changing their head coach in December and would be hoping to sneak into the playoff places as they currently have 18 points from 17 matches. The Blues would face tough challenges in their last five matches and would have to step up their gameplay.

Current Form

While Bengaluru defeated Hyderabad 2-1 last weekend to grab their fourth win of the league season, Kerala Blasters returned to winning ways, trouncing Goa 4-2 in a splendid second-half comeback.

The Blues started the season with a 2-1 defeat to the Blasters in the 2023-24 ISL season opener followed by another defeat to Mohun Bagan Super Giant. A 2-1 win against East Bengal followed by a 0-0 draw against Goa filled fans with hope but a 3-2 defeat to Odisha followed by a 1-1 draw against Hyderabad once again deflated their ambitions.

Two more draws followed by a 4-0 loss to Mumbai City spelt an end to Simon Grayson’s time in India as the Blues appointed Gerard Zaragoza as the head coach for the remainder of the season. A loss, a win, and a draw followed as Bengaluru continued to have mixed results before the mid-season break.

Two losses, two wins, and a draw since the resumption of the league season has the fans hoping for a sixth position once again to qualify for the playoffs with a late surge.

On the other hand, the Blasters had a perfect start to the season with a 2-1 win against the Blues at home followed by a 1-0 win against Jamshedpur. A 2-1 loss to Mumbai City ignited the fire in the Blasters’ squad as they drew 1-1 against NorthEast United followed by two consecutive 2-1 wins against Odisha and East Bengal.

A 1-0 win against Hyderabad maintained the winning streak which was broken in a 3-3 draw against Chennaiyin followed by a 1-0 loss to Goa. Three consecutive wins against Punjab, Mumbai City, and Mohun Bagan Super Giant ensured that the Tuskers held the pole position in the league standings for the entirety of the mid-season break in January.

Injury-stricken Blasters couldn’t hold onto the first position with three consecutive defeats against Odisha, Punjab, and 10-men Chennaiyin which had Vukamanovic’s side holding onto straws but the recent win in Goa has boosted their confidence ahead of the next fixture.

Head to Head Record

Since Bengaluru started playing in the ISL, the two teams have met on 14 occasions with the 2018-19 ISL champions having the upper hand with 8 wins while the Tuskers have 4 wins with two contests ending in a draw.

The reverse fixture in the league saw Kerala Blasters host Bengaluru at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi and the match ended 2-1 in favor of the hosts as the home crowd egged on their side to exact revenge on the side who eliminated the Blasters from the 2022-23 ISL season in a controversial manner.

In the season opener, Keziah Veendorp scored the first goal of the ongoing ISL season, albeit in his own net giving the hosts the advantage. Skipper Adrian Luna doubled the Blasters’ lead in the 69th minute and former Bengaluru striker Curtis Main pulled one goal back in the 90th minute but in vain as the Kochi-based side walked away with the three points.

Team News

Sandeep Singh and Slavko Damjanovic would miss the crucial clash

For the hosts, Slavko Damjanvoic would be suspended for the upcoming Southern Derby as the Montenegrin central defender picked up his eighth booking of the season in the 2-1 win against Hyderabad. 

Additionally, Shivaldo Singh, Harsh Patre, and Shankar Sampingraj are all on three yellow cards and will be suspended for the next fixture if they get booked in the contest against Kerala Blasters.

For the Blasters, there seems to be no respite from injuries as first-choice goalkeeper Sachin Suresh has been ruled out of the remainder of the season due to a shoulder dislocation. If the Tuskers don’t sign a new goalkeeper within the next few days, Vukamanovic will have to rely on Kamaljit Singh for the playoffs. 

In terms of suspensions, Sandeep Singh would miss the clash against Bengaluru after picking up his fourth yellow card of the domestic season while the quartet of Milos Drincic, Marko Leskovic, Pritam Kotal, and Mohammed Azhar are on three bookings and at risk of suspension.

Predicted Starting XIs

Bengaluru (4-1-2-1-2): Gurpreet Singh Sandhu; Nikhil Poojary, Chinglensana Singh, Aleksandar Jovanovic, Naorem Roshan Singh; Harsh Patre; Shivaldo Singh, Ryan Williams; Javi Hernandez; Oliver Drost, Sunil Chhetri

Kerala Blasters (4-4-2): Kamaljit Singh; Pritam Kotal, Ruivah Hormipam, Milos Drincic, Naocha Singh; Rahul KP, Jeakson Singh, Vibin Mohanan, Daisuke Sakai; Fedor Cernych, Dimitrios Diamantakos


The Southern Derby is always a delicious fixture for the fans irrespective of the form of the two teams and this match is no different with both sides in dire need of three points as the league stage enters the last few weeks of action.

Vukamanvoic’s side is higher in the league standings but the Blues would have the crowd on their side and the social media posts of both clubs would certainly boost the volume of the fans at the Sree Kantaveera Stadium on Saturday.