Goa look to book semis berth against Kerala
Kerala Blasters FC host FC Goa in their last home game of Hero Indian Super League 2015 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Sunday. The visitors can book a place in the semis with a win, whereas Kerala will have to win both this and their next encounter and then hope that other results also go their way. The Gaurs will be hoping to cement a spot in the semis before their last game of the season which will be away against Delhi Dynamos FC. A victory against the Blasters will also see them do the double over the southern-outfit whose semi-final chances look very bleak.
Form Guide (Last 5 matches)
Kerala Blasters FC: W-L-W-L-D
FC Goa: W-D-W-L-D
Head-to-Head: Both sides won their home fixtures against each other last season. Goa beat Kerala 3-0 last year and Kerala returned the favour with a narrow 1-0 win in Kochi. The home-team-winning-trend continued this season as well with FC Goa beating Kerala by a score-line of 2-1 earlier in Season 2.
Peter Ramage can expect to be kept busy against a FC Goa team who are currently the second highest scoring side in the league. Ramage has been exceptional for Kerala all season and is the only player to have started every game for the men in yellow. The Englishman has also made more blocks (15) and clearances (140) than anyone from his side.
Top scorer for the Gaurs this season, Reinaldo’s return to Goa after a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to injury comes as a welcome shot in the arm for Zico’s men. The powerful Brazilian target-man has netted four times for his team in eight appearances this season and has also made an assist. His ability to finish and create chances for his team-mates makes him pivotal to Goa’s fortunes in the last stretch of Hero ISL 2015.
Josu vs Leo Moura
Josu will have to play a key role if Kerala are to get a win against FC Goa on Sunday. The young Spaniard’s vision in midfield has seen him make three assists for Kerala this year. Blessed with exceptional technical ability, his gift to deliver picture-perfect crosses from set-pieces is an added threat to the Gaurs. His stunning strike against NorthEast United FC earlier in the season has been one of the highlights of Kerala’s campaign in Season 2.
Leo Moura has been one of the finds of the league this season and the stats show us why. The linchpin in midfield for Goa, no player in the league has completed more chances than the veteran Brazilian (636). He is also the joint record-holder for most number of assists this season (6) and has found the back of the net twice for the Gaurs this year.
Antonio German vs Lucio
One wonders what might have been the case for Kerala Blasters FC had Antonio German not been sidelined through injury in the early stages of the league. Since his return to the Kerala fold, the pacey Englishman has scored five times and provided an assist for the Blasters in just seven appearances. He and Iain Hume (Atlético de Kolkata) are the the only players to have scored in four consecutive matches.
Lucio will be tested against a pacey Kerala frontline that features the likes of Chris Dagnall and Antonio German. The veteran Brazilian will have to bring all his experience into play if he hopes to nullify a potent-looking attacking-line. The former FIFA World Cup winner is also a threat in the opposition penalty box from set-pieces and has looked comfortable in possession which his passing accuracy of 84% bears testimony to.
Kerala Blasters FC: Stephen Bywater, Rahul Shankar Bheke, Ramandeep Singh, Peter Ramage, Cavin Lobo, Joao Coimbra, Chris Dagnall, Mohd Rafi, Ishfaq Ahmed, Shankar S, CK Vineeth, Mehtab Hossain, Sandesh Jhingan, Deepak Kumar Mandal , Manandeep Singh, Rodrigo, Antonio German, Bruno Perone, Sandip Nandy, Saumik Dey, Marcus Williams, Peter Carvalho, Victor Herrero Forcada, Josu Currias, Shilton Paul, Rodrigo Pereira
FC Goa: Elinton Sanchotene Andrade, Luis Barreto, Laxmikant Kattimani, Lucimar Da Silva Ferreira [Lucio] [marquee], Gregory Arnolin, Luciano Sobrosa, Keenan Almeida, Nicolau Colaco, Raju Gaekwad, Debabrata Roy, Narayan Das, Joffre Mateu Gonzalez, Leonardo da Silva Moura [Leo Moura], Jonatan Lucca, Denson Devdas, Pronay Halder, Bikramjit Singh, Mandar Rao Dessai, Romeo Fernandes, Reinaldo Da Cruz Oliveira, Rafael Coelho, Macpherlin Omagbemi Dudu, Thongkoisep Haokip, Victorino Fernandes, Joaquim Abranches, CS Sabeeth.
– ISL Media