Tuesday 16 Apr 2024

Kerala Blasters FC eye playoff berth as East Bengal FC battle for survival

Clinton D'Souza | APRIL 02, 2024, 03:39 PM IST
Kerala Blasters FC eye playoff berth as East Bengal FC battle for survival

Kerala Blasters FC is gearing up to face East Bengal FC in an important Indian Super League (ISL) match on April 3, Wednesday. With 30 points from 19 matches, Kerala Blasters FC is sitting comfortably in the league standings. There are currently five teams, including East Bengal FC, who cannot match the points tally of the Yellow Army. This means that if Punjab FC fails to win against Odisha FC tonight, Kerala Blasters FC will secure their spot in the playoffs.

For East Bengal FC, the situation is more challenging. Currently in the penultimate spot with 18 points from 19 games, they need to win all three of their remaining matches to have a chance of reaching a maximum of 27 points. It's a tough battle ahead for East Bengal FC as they strive to secure a place in the top-six and keep their playoff hopes alive.

Interesting facts of these 2 teams:

Kerala Blasters FC

There is no denying that the Kerala Blasters FC campaign has gone off track after the mid-season break. However, they can be eyeing their first league double over East Bengal FC with a potential victory in this match.

Their backline needs some strengthening in the final month of this ISL season, with the team having conceded at least a goal in each of their last seven matches in the competition.

The last and only time they went with more games without a clean sheet was a stretch of eight matches from November 2015-October 2016. Kerala Blasters FC lost a 4-3 thriller to the Mohun Bagan Super Giant in the home turf of the former in their last game here.

A loss here will see them lose consecutive matches at home for the first time since October 2022.

They tend to begin second halves of matches on a strong note, having scored seven goals in the first 15 minutes of the second half so far in ISL 2023-24, which is the highest amongst all teams. Needless to say, East Bengal FC has to be wary of not letting Kerala Blasters FC run away with the game in this phase of the match.

East Bengal FC

East Bengal FC comes into this game on the back of three consecutive losses in the ISL. The last time they went on a longer such run was of four matches in January 2023.

They are averaging 10.1 headed clearances per game in ISL 2023-24, which is the second-highest aggregate by any side in the season, i.e. Punjab FC (11.7). Accordingly, the Kerala Blasters FC unit knows that they cannot use their aerial prowess to attack the East Bengal FC box.

These two teams last locked horns in November 2023, with the Yellow Army edging past the Kolkata-based side by 2-1, with a goal by Cleiton Silva in the added time of the second half by Cleiton Silva falling short to even secure them a point.

Dimitrios Diamantakos was on the sheet for the Yellow Army in that match, and he will be another threat for East Bengal FC this time around, with the Greek striker having already found the back of the net 13 times so far in this campaign.

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