Kerala Blasters FC will look to keep their winning hopes alive in the ongoing fifth edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) while taking on in-form hosts Jamshedpur FC side here at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Tuesday.
The Blasters are currently seventh in the table with just eight points from nine matches and are falling behind in the race for the top four, fast. A victory against Jamshedpur will help them close the gap and keep themselves in the contention for a playoff spot.
For Jamshedpur, the match will be an opportunity to strengthen their position in the top four race, which is turning out to be a close battle this season.
After staying unbeaten in their first five matches this season, David James' men seem to have lost the plot in their last four outings, losing three and drawing their last fixture against Chennaiyin FC. Even a draw may be considered a lucky escape for Kerala, considering the number of big chances Chennaiyin failed to convert in the match.
Kerala are currently on an eight-match winless run, their longest one in the ISL history. The yellow brigade's last win came against ATK on the opening day of the season. Their inability to close out matches they dominated and a tendency of letting in late goals have hurt their prospects this season. The team has lost out on seven points from winning positions because of conceding late.
Despite their several woes, the silver lining for the Blasters this season has been the emergence of goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh. The 18-year-old has started four matches for Kerala this season and conceded just three goals. Dheeraj is also responsible for both of the clean sheets Kerala have managed so far.
Jamshedpur have strung together a decent run of results this season and with 15 points from six matches, they are very much in the mix for a top-four finish. However, their last match against North East United FC may have given head coach Cesar Ferrando something to think about. His team failed to register a single shot on target over the entirety of the ninety minutes. Interestingly, it was also the first match in which Jamshedpur failed to score this season.
Ferrando will be hoping that it was just an off day at the office for his forward players and the likes of Sumeet Passi, Carlos Calvo and Michael Soosairaj will fire all cylinders against Kerala on Tuesday.
All eyes will be on Jamshedpur's Tim Cahill during the match. The Australian scored his first and only ISL goal against Kerala in the reverse fixture at Jamshedpur back in October. The match ended in a 2-2 draw.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)