Bottom-placed teams Hyderabad FC and Kerala Blasters FC will be desperate to add a win to their kitty as they face each other in an Indian Super League clash at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Sunday.
Hyderabad are currently rock bottom with five points from 10 games while Kerala Blasters have eight points to their name. Coincidentally, both teams are looking for their second win of the season. Incidentally for Hyderabad, their only win came against Eelco Schattorie’s Kerala in the reverse fixture earlier this season.
It has been a tale of woe for the teams this season. Kerala and Hyderabad have only managed 10 goals each from as many games. Kerala are winless in their last nine matches and have struggled to make a mark, more so on home soil where they only have managed two victories in the last two seasons.
Hyderabad, on the other hand, are on a seven-game winless run and are yet to keep a clean sheet.
The good news for Schattorie’s side is that several of his injured players are coming back into the fold. However, it is likely that Mario Arques could miss the tie after he was taken off in the last game against NorthEast United which ended 1-1.
“The problem is that in 10 games we have not had the same 10 players in the starting line-up. I don’t know how people don’t see it as a big problem to maintain consistency. Take the example of Mumbai. They had many players injured initially. But then they got the players back, a little bit of luck and got into the flow. Hyderabad is in a similar situation, they also had players injured. But you can see that in the last two-three games they are improving,” said Schattorie.
Indian players have not stepped up for Kerala Blasters. Only one of their 10 goals have been scored by domestic players. The likes of Seityasen Singh, Prashanth Karuthadathkuni and Sahal Abdul Samad have not been able to have the impact they would have wanted.
However, the Dutch coach is confident of a positive result. “I know where their (Hyderabad’s) strengths and weaknesses are. We know how to exploit them,” he said.
On the other hand, Hyderabad could count themselves unlucky for not being able to at least pick a point in Mumbai in their previous game. Though they struck the woodwork twice, it was their faulty defensive organisation coupled with individual errors which eventually saw them fall to a 2-1 defeat.
“I think it will be a good game of football where the better tactician will win the game. We have to address the issue of keeping clean sheets first. It’s not necessary how much ball possession you have or how many chances you create but the scoreline matters at the end of the day,” said coach Phil Brown.
Kerala and Hyderabad are desperate for a win. While Kerala will hope to satisfy the home crowd on Sunday and exact revenge for the loss in Hyderabad, the visitors will be hoping to get their first-ever point(s) from an away fixture.