Final home game for Kerala Blasters FC as they face East Bengal FC in high-stakes clash

Apr 02, 2024

Kochi (Kerela) [India], April 3 : Kerala Blasters FC will play hosts to East Bengal FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 on April 3, Wednesday, at 7:30 pm IST.
With 30 points from 19 matches, currently, there are five teams, namely: Hyderabad FC, East Bengal FC, NorthEast United FC, Jamshedpur FC, and Bengaluru FC, who cannot match the tally of the Yellow Army. Only Chennaiyin FC and Punjab FC can catch up with Ivan Vukomanovic & Co. Punjab FC will square off against Odisha FC tonight, and a failure to win against the Juggernauts will mean that they will become the sixth team who could not equal or surpass the points garnered by Kerala Blasters FC. This will automatically result in the Kochi-based team qualifying to the playoffs.
Hence, there is all probability that Kerala Blasters FC would have a foot into the next round of the competition by the time of their match against the Red & Gold Brigade.
East Bengal FC, contrastingly, has to fight tooth and nail to make it to the top-six. They are in the penultimate spot in the standings presently, having notched 18 points from 19 games. With three matches remaining, they can get to a maximum of 27 points with a prospective victory in all of their remaining matches.
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 have a tendency 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 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 horn 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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