ISL: Blasters eye claim for top spot against struggling Goa

Panaji (Goa) [India]: Kerala Blasters FC will want to start the new year like they ended the last when they meet FC Goa in the 2021-22 Indian Super League at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on Sunday.
Kerala are fifth in the points table with 13 points from eight matches but have remained unbeaten for the last seven games. Ivan Vukomanovic’s charges have looked very good this season, especially in midfield and attack. A win on Sunday will take them atop the league standings, displacing Mumbai City FC. One of the main reasons for Kerala Blasters’ success this season is the stability and balance their midfield duo of Jeakson Singh and Puitea add in both offence and defence.
Jeakson and Puitea are both good in possession and solid defensively. Jeakson is the one who sits behind usually, doing more defensive work and starting attacks. Puitea is the box-to-box midfielder who shuttles between defence and attack.
The likes of Alvaro Vazquez have done well in attack and Kerala can be confident with the arsenal they have against FC Goa who are struggling.
“Every game for us is a final. We want to show Kerala Blasters is a tough team and build a strong side for the future of the club. We have no right to announce that we are going for the title. We were second from the bottom last season. We are doing good now but you have to remain humble, shut up and continue working. If we are in a favourable position come the final stages of the season, we will see then,” Vukomanovic said on the team enjoying a rich vein of form.
Goa haven’t won in their last three matches and under Derrick Pereira lost to ATK Mohun Bagan in their last encounter. The Gaurs looked out of sorts in that game despite Jorge Ortiz marking his comeback into the side with a goal. With two goals and three assists this season, Ortiz (5) has more goal contributions than any other Goa player and the Spaniard has looked in good touch. Goa’s defending from set-pieces have been a bane as they have leaked nine goals from them so far.
“Blasters have some good strikers and against a team that are in form, we need to prepare to our strengths and I feel we have been gradually doing good in the last two games,” head coach Pereira said.
“Hopefully, we get out there and play for the three points. Edu Bedia has started training but we are yet to get a clearance from the medical team. Airan Cabrera is ruled out as he is still nursing his hamstring injury.”

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