Kerala Blasters vs NorthEast United: Preview and Prediction
Despite being hit by suspensions and injuries of various kinds, the Kerala-based side has been faring quite well in the 2023-24 ISL season while NorthEast United has also shown considerable improvement under new head coach Juan Pedro Benali with Parthib Gogoi and Asheer Akhtar putting in performances of the highest level.
Kerala Blasters commenced their 2023-24 Indian Super League campaign against Bengaluru at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium. The Blues displayed decent football by creating more chances and dominating on possession. However, with the help of an own goal by Keziah Veendorp and a second-half strike by Adrian Luna, the Tuskers managed to start their campaign with a win.
In the next match, the Yellow Army hosted Jamshedpur and again, Luna emerged as the only goalscorer for Kerala Blasters as the Red Miners failed to get on the score sheet.
The Blasters then visited the Mumbai Football Arena in order to face Des Buckingham’s Mumbai City. Jorge Pereyra Díaz broke the deadlock against the Tuskers, which was later equalized by Danish Farooq Bhat in the 57th minute.
However, Apuia’s second-half strike for the Islanders increased the intensity of the match, which also resulted in a verbal brawl and heated exchange as two red cards were shown in the added time with the match ending 2-1.
On the other side, NorthEast United started their campaign against Des Buckingham’s Mumbai City. With the help of a brace from Jorge Pereyra Diaz, the Islanders won 2-1 comfortably as Parthib Sundar Gogoi’s lone attempt went in vain.
After the loss in the first match, the Highlanders hosted Chennaiyin at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium and Parthib again scored for NorthEast United, however, this time, he got the much-required support from Phalguni Singh and Asheer Akhtar as the Highlanders won the match 3-0.
On matchday three, NorthEast United played a 1-1 draw against Punjab at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi.
Head to Head Record
NorthEast United and Kerala Blasters have locked horns on a total of 16 occasions across different seasons in the Indian Super League. The Yellow Army has managed to walk out victorious at eight meetings while the Highlanders have won four matches. The remaining six matches between the two sides have ended in a draw.
In the last two seasons of the Indian Super League, NorthEast United has failed to even win a single match against Kerala Blasters. Taking a look at the last season, the Yellow Army thrashed the Highlanders on both occasions with score lines of 0-3 and 2-0 respectively.
Kerala Blasters’ Milos Drincic won’t be playing the match as the central defender has been suspended by AIFF for three matches due to the breach of disciplinary rules. He is expected to return after the next international break and Marko Leskovic would have slotted straight into the starting XI but injury concerns could keep him out of this fixture as well.
Apart from the overseas central defenders, Aibanbha Dohling is also currently suffering from an ankle injury and he won’t be making a quick return to action.
Unlike Kerala Blasters, NorthEast United will be walking in the matchday four of the Indian Super League with full strength. Fortunately, Benali’s side has not recorded any injury or suspension. As a result, the Highlanders are expected to start with the same line-up they had against Punjab.
Kerala Blasters (4-2-2-2): Sachin Suresh, Prabir Das, Pritam Kotal, Hormipam Ruivah, Sandeep Singh, Jeakson Singh, Danish Farooq, Daisuke Sakai, Adrian Luna, Kwame Peprah, Dimitrios Diamantakos.
NorthEast United (4-2-3-1): Mirshad Michu, Dinesh Singh, Asheer Akhtar, Miguel Zobaco, Tondonba Singh, Mohammed Ali Bemammer, Phalguni Singh, Romain Philippoteaux, Parthib Gogoi, Nestor Albiach, Rochharzela
Kerala Blasters will be facing NorthEast United without two of their key players. However, the Tuskers will have a home advantage and their home fans have always been extremely loud.
On the other side, the Highlanders’ performance against Chennaiyin was enough to give a statement to all the other clubs. Nevertheless, Kerala Blasters are likely to win over their Northern rivals.