After a tough 1-0 loss to ATK Mohun Bagan in ISL 2020-21 opener, the Kerala Blasters FC will be gunning for their first win of the season as they face NorthEast United FC (NEUFC) at the GMC stadium in Bambolim, Goa on Thursday.
Failing to have a single shot on target despite creating a few chances, Kerala will be ensuring not to repeat the same mistakes against the NEUFC. The Highlanders are coming into this with a fantastic defensive display leading to a 1-0 victory over the Mumbai City FC. The defensive trio of Khassa Camara, Dylan Fox and Ashutosh Mehta are a force to reckon with. However, with the way the Kerala’s Strikers played in the last game, they may find it tough when they go head to head with NEUFC’s defence.
In a pre-match conference, Kerala’s head coach Kibu Vicuna praised NUEFC’s performance against Mumbai City FC and said that the Kerala team will have to improve on its attack. “They [NorthEast] played well against Mumbai. They are an organised team. They also had chances and tried to play out from the goalkeeper and tried to perform fast counter-attacks. We controlled the game against ATK Mohun Bagan but they scored. We have to improve in the final third,” Vicuna said.
NUEFC’s head coach Gerard Nus also had some good thing to say about the Kochi-based franchise ahead of the clash. “Kerala Blasters have one of the best squads in the Hero ISL for sure. I see them like a very tough team to play against. I watched the first game that they played. They are unbelievable in terms of build-up, strength, set-pieces. I see them as a very hard team to play. They are a solid side so I believe it is going to be a hard side to play against,” Nus said.
In head to head, the Kerala side has a slight edge over the NorthEast side. Out of 12 games played between the two, Kerala has won five and NUEFC won 3, and the two teams have drawn 4 games. But one must note that in the last four head to head matches, NEUFC beat Kerala once and drew the last three games.