Kerala Blasters vs East Bengal: Preview and Prediction

The 2022-23 season of the Indian Super League will kickstart with a match between Kerala Blasters and East Bengal

The 2022-23 edition of the Indian Super League will commence with a match involving two teams who have massive fan bases spread across the nation but have never really lived up to the expectations in this competition – Kerala Blasters and East Bengal.

Yet, both teams will be optimistic coming into this match. Though they did not have any silverware to show for it, the Tuskers did a commendable job last season to make it to the playoffs, and then eventually to the final by beating League Winners Shield-winning team Jamshedpur. Having retained the core of their team, the Blasters will be aiming to go the extra mile this time around.

East Bengal, on the other hand, had a horrendous campaign last time around, where they finished in the last place and won only one of their 20 matches. Having said that, things have looked better this season, following the appointment of veteran tactician Stephen Constantine as their head coach.

Current Form

Kerala Blasters sent their reserve squad to the Durand Cup 2022, but despite their inexperience, they did well to make it to the quarter-finals, where they succumbed to a defeat against Mohammedan. Their main team, however, travelled to the United Arab Emirates.

The FIFA ban on AIFF, which has now been lifted, meant that three of Kerala Blasters’ pre-season friendlies in the UAE were cancelled, but they did play the fourth fixture against Al Jazira Al Hamra Club, where they won 5-1. Rahul KP, Saurav Mandal, Sahal Abdul Samad, Dimitrios Diamantakos, and Jessel Carneiro were the goal-scorers for Ivan Vukomanovic’s team. They also won their last pre-season friendly against MA College Kothamangalam, courtesy of goals from Marko Leskovic, Diamantakos and Mandal.

East Bengal, on the other hand, could not make it to the quarter-finals of the Durand Cup 2022. They defeated Mumbai City and drew against Rajasthan United and Indian Navy, but suffered a defeat in the Kolkata Derby against arch-rivals ATK Mohun Bagan.

However, they have been unstoppable in the pre-season friendlies. The Red and Golds drew their first friendly against Diamond Harbour, but since then, they have accumulated wins against George Telegraph, Aryan, India U-20, and I-League team Real Kashmir.

Head to Head Record

Kerala Blasters hold the upper hand in terms of head-to-head records, but only by the narrowest of margins. They have won one of the four meetings against the Torch Bearers, while the other three matches ended in stalemates.

The last meeting between these two teams ended in a 1-0 triumph for the Tuskers. Enes Sipovic, the Bosnian central defender who is not with the team anymore, scored the decisive goal.

Team News

Vukomanovic played a 4-4-2 formation last season and we can expect the Serbian to stick to the same set-up this time around as well. Prabhsukhan Gill is certain to retain his place under the sticks, while Harmanjot Khabra, Leskovic, Victor Mongil and Carneiro are expected to form the four-man backline.

Samad and Adrian Luna, who enjoyed successful campaigns in the 2021/22 season, are expected to be deployed on the flanks, with Jeakson Singh and Puitea controlling the engine room. The onus of scoring goals could be on Diamantakos and Rahul.

Constantine is expected to match Vukomanovic’s 4-4-2 formation in this tie. Kamaljit Singh is expected to be East Bengal’s last time of defense, with the backline comprising Charalampos Kyriakou, Ivan Gonzalez, Lanchungnunga and Jerry Lalrinzuala.

Australian midfielder Jordan O’Doherty is expected to pair up with Souvik Chakrabarti in the heart of the midfield, with Aniket Jadhav and VP Suhair operating on the flanks. As for the Torch Bearers’ strike pair, we could see Cleiton Silva and Sumeet Passi paired up front.

Predicted XIs

Kerala Blasters: Prabhsukhan Gill; Harmanjot Khabra, Marko Leskovic, Victor Mongil, Jessel Carneiro; Sahal Abdul Samad, Jeakson Singh, Puitea, Adrian Luna; Dimitrios Diamantakos, Rahul KP.

East Bengal: Kamaljit Singh; Charalampos Kyriakou, Ivan Gonzalez, Lalchungnunga, Jerry Lalrinzuala; Aniket Jadhav, Jordan O’Doherty, Souvik Chakrabarti, VP Suhair; Cleiton Silva, Sumeet Passi.


While Kerala Blasters might have a comparatively more formidable squad, Constantine’s men have proven that they are a tough nut to crack during the Durand Cup 2022. With these two teams having a history of playing out draws, we have predicted a 1-1 stalemate for the season opener.