The first Southern derby of the season will see Bengaluru FC take on Kerala Blasters at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Saturday in the Indian Super League.
Both these teams have one of the biggest rivalries seen in Indian football and here are three things you can expect from this explosive clash....
3. Battle of star strikers
Bartholomew Ogbeche will lead the line for Kerala Blasters. He wasn’t fit to start Kerala’s last game due to illness and will be raring to return to the pitch.
Ogbeche has never managed to score against Bengaluru, which is a challenge he will be motivated to face. The striker has two goals to his name this season but hasn't netted in his last three outings.
For Bengaluru, as always, their talisman Sunil Chhetri will lead the line. The Indian captain scored in his last game for the Blues will spearhead the attack alongside Bengaluru’s pacey wideman Udanta Singh and the ever-reliable Raphael Augusto operating as the link between midfield and attack.
2. Key stats and probable XI from both sides
- Kerala Blasters are yet to win a match against Bengaluru FC having met on four occasions, losing thrice and drawing the other.
- Bengaluru FC have conceded just 1 goal so far and have kept three clean sheets – the most by a side this season.
- Bengaluru FC are yet to concede a goal from open play this season.
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK), Juanan, Rahul Bheke, Nishu Kumar, Ashique Kuruniyan, Harmanjot Singh Khabra, Raphael Augusto, Dimas Delgado, Udanta Singh, Erik Paartalu, Sunil Chhetri
Kerala Blasters FC:
TP Rehenesh (GK), Mohamad Rakip, Raju Gaikwad, Mouhamadou Gning, Jessel Carneiro, Prasanth Karuthadathkuni, Sergio Cidoncha, Jeakson Singh, Sahal Abdul Samad, Bartholomew Ogbeche, Rahul KP
1. Kerala looking for first ever win against Bengaluru FC
Astonishingly, in ISL history, Kerala Blasters have never beaten Bengaluru FC in the four matches that the two teams have played against each other.
The Blues have won three out of those four matches and one game has ended up in a draw. The Blasters will be looking to get their maiden win which would definitely boost their confidence ahead of a tough run of fixtures.