Kerala look to turnaround their season against Pune
Matchday 22 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2015 will see FC Pune City take on Kerala Blasters FC at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium in Pune. Both teams will be desperate to reignite their season having been at the wrong end of results recently. The hosts have suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Chennaiyin FC last season, while Kerala will be looking for their first win since their season opener and on the back of three successive defeats. It will be a crucial game for the men in yellow who are currently languishing at the bottom of the League table.
A leader at the back, Gouramangi Singh has been one of the mainstays in defence for the Stallions this season. The experienced centre-back’s confidence on the ball makes him a distributor from the back. Strong and solid in the tackle, the 29-year-old’s ability to sense danger has seen him make 29 clearances for Pune so far.
Mohammed Rafi has been Kerala Blasters FC’s most clinical striker this season. The forward’s ruthlessness in front of goal has seen him find the back of the net in both his outings for the Blasters this year. A menace in the penalty box, his aerial ability is another key area head coach Peter Taylor has looked to exploit while going forward this season.
FC Pune City so far: W-W-L-W-L
Kerala Blasters FC so far: W-D-L-L-L
Head-to-Head: Kerala Blasters FC got the better of FC Pune City in both matches last season with an aggregate scoreline of 3-1.
Jackichand Singh vs Rahul Bheke
Jackichand Singh’s energetic style of play has had a major influence on the Stallions’ style of play. Constantly on the move, on the left side of their attack, Singh has made 14 crosses for his side thus far and has also scored Hero ISL 2015’s fastest goal against reigning champions Atlético de Kolkata which was eventually the game’s deciding goal.
Drafted in at the last minute for Kerala Blasters, Rahul Bheke has been a revelation for the men in yellow. Comfortable in defence, the youngster is not shy to get forward either. His long direct throws into the box is another weapon in the Blasters’ attacking arsenal. The 24-year-old full-back seems to have made the right-back slot his own and also has an assist to his name this year.
Kalu Uche vs Peter Ramage
Much like Rafi, Kalu Uche has also made the most of his limited opportunities on the pitch so far. The former Nigerian international has scored twice in his three appearances for FC Pune City and has a shooting accuracy of 100%, with all his five shots being destined for goal, this barring goalkeeping interventions.
Peter Ramage has led from the front for Kerala Blasters this year. Having embraced the captaincy role perfectly, he has contributed to his side in both attack and defence during his debut Hero ISL season. The Englishman has provided an assist for his side and completed 53 clearances, the most by any player in Season 2.
A crunch game for both parties, coaches David Platt and Peter Taylor will be looking for inspiring performances from their troops. The game is likely to eventually come down to which team makes the most of their chances. Both sides are equipped with an abundance of firepower in the attacking line. With the likes of Sanchez Watt, Chris Dagnall, Tuncay Sanli and Adrian Mutu set to be involved, we can expect an entertaining game on Tuesday.