Kerala Blasters vs Jamshedpur: Preview and Prediction
The new year celebrations in God’s own country will erupt as the Indian Super League is back with another classic to enthral the Kerala crowd. Kerala Blasters will be taking on the challenge of the tenth-placed Jamshedpur side on Tuesday at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium of Kochi in Matchday 12 en route their way back to the Top 3.
The Blasters are having a throbbing campaign in the 2022-23 ISL season and have currently occupied the fourth position in the points table. Despite suffering from a hat-trick of defeats in the early stages of the season, they have managed to stage a quick turnaround to make it to the Top 4.
The finalists of the previous edition are cruising on an unbeaten run after losing three straight fixtures and may barge into the Top 3 if they’re able to at least fetch a point from this forthcoming game.
On the other hand, Jamshedpur is having a forgettable campaign in the ninth edition which is so far their worst ever in the Indian top-flight football league. The Red Miners who topped the league stage of the previous season are currently seated in the 10th position having only a single win under their helm.
The Premiership defense campaign kick-started on a good note for the Jharkhand-based outfit after one win and one draw with Mumbai City in the first month however, the Men of Steel could not carry it in the further stages.
Kerala hosted the Juggernauts in their most recent ISL fixture where the Tuskers’ offensive unit almost had no clues on how to trample down the defensive watch of the visitors. However, a late winner from the 27-year-old right-back Sandeep Singh Soraisam in the 86th minute of the game somehow managed to save them from humiliation in front of a packed Manjappada crowd. It was the season’s third and first win on the home turf for the Yellow and Blues when they claimed all three match points with the barest margin of 1-0.
The Red Miners held onto the triumph-chariot of Goa in a high-scoring saga at The Furnace which was also their last game of a wonderful 2022 year. The Spanish attacking midfielder of the Gaurs, Iker Guarrotxena was involved in three out of four goals of the game after registering a brace (38′ & 89′) and an early own goal (31′) on his name. Ishan Pandita gave a crucial lead to his side with a 50th-minute strike before it was demolished by Guarrotxena for the second time at JRD Tata Sports Complex.
The two high-profile football entities have locked horns with each other on 13 occasions at India’s biggest footballing stage. And the rivalry between the two is so hardcore that the head-to-head count of their face-offs has also been neck-to-neck right from its inception.
It is currently tied on 3-3 while a whopping number of 7 encounters have been consummated resultless between two franchises who also share the identical playstyle.
It was just a month ago when the Blasters shared the same battlefield with the Men of Steel in the first week of December at JRD Tata Sports Complex. Kerala thoroughly dominated the Red Miners who never looked in control throughout the 90 minutes despite having the home advantage.
Whether it was ball possession or successful passes or passing accuracy, the Tuskers outclassed their counterparts in every statistic but a 17th-minute winning goal from Dimitrios Diamantakos was the one that made the actual difference.
We witnessed a high-scoring thriller the last time the Red Miners travelled to Kochi for an ISL fixture which resulted in a final scoreline of 2-2. The visitors were in a commanding position with a 2-0 lead when the game entered into the final 15 minutes after the strikes of Piti (38′) and local lad CK Vineeth (72′). Then the knight named Raphael Messi Bouli stormed and scored a brace in a span of 12 minutes to snatch a point from Jamshedpur out of nowhere.
The Mizo central midfielder Puitea who was sidelined for the last few Blasters’ games has officially ended his two-year stay with the Kerala-based side to join the Kolkata giants ATK Mohun Bagan.
Another key player who won’t be featuring in the matchday squad of the Tuskers is the veteran holding midfielder Harmanjot Khabra owing to his fitness concerns. The Goan winger Bryce Miranda recently delivered an impressive cameo performance against Odisha where he also assisted the match-winning goal after coming off the bench in the 83rd minute.
The UP-born goalkeeper Vishal Yadav has failed to keep a clean sheet in his first three starts for the Jamshedpur and may lose his place to the veteran TP Rehenesh. In an official statement, the club has announced that they have parted ways with the ISL Premiere winning captain Peter Hartley on mutual terms. Hartley will be replaced by the former NorthEast United and Goa defender Dylan Fox who may make his debut donning Red colors in the same week of arrival.
Predicted Starting XIs
Kerala Blasters (4-4-2): Prabhsukhan Gill; Sandeep Singh, Hormipam Ruivah, Marco Leskovic, Jessel Carneiro (c); Bryce Miranda, Jeakson Singh, Ivan Kalyuzhnyi, Sahal Abdul Samad; Adrian Luna, Dimitrios Diamantakos
Jamshedpur (3-5-2): TP Rehenesh; Pratik Chaudhari, Eli Sabia (c), Mohammed Uvais; Boris Singh, Raphael Crivellaro, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Phijam Singh, Ricky Lallawmawma; Daniel Chima, Ishan Pandita
Kerala is undefeated at home since the last four fixtures hence the Tuskers are considered favorites to emerge victorious from this contest beyond doubt. They also have an advantage of winning the most recent face-off while it is always challenging for a visiting side as they often look under staggering pressure while playing against the cheers of a passionate Manjappada crowd. Jamshedpur is standing with fewer chances of winning as the Red Miners are yet to register their maiden away victory this season.