Two-time Indian Super League (ISL) finalists Kerala Blasters face a pretty difficult task on Friday February 2 as they take on FC Pune City in their 14th league match of the season. The Blasters are yet to see a turnaround of form under David James, and the battle gets more uphill for the Kerala football side to make it to the knockout stages.
Blasters roped in Victor Pulga earlier this week with an eye on improvement. The Spanish midfielder, who played the first two ISL seasons with Kerala Blasters, has been roped in as a replacement for Keziron Kizito.
Star forward Dimitar Berbatov is also touted to play in the match, as according to coach David James, the Bulgarian forward has regained full fitness.
Fact remains Kerala Blasters need nothing but wins from this stage on to have any chance of moving to the knockouts phase. They are currently seventh in the ISL points table with 17 points from 13 matches, as compared to FC Pune City, who are third with 22 points from 12 games.
Ranko Popovic, FC Pune City coach, however, still sounds a warning about their opponents.
"It will be a very difficult match," Popovic said. "Because we know what Kerala is like. It is a traditionally good club. And especially, now at this moment, there are some fresh players.
"They have a new challenge, and the motivation is big for them."
The first leg ISL 2017-18 fixture between Kerala Blasters and FC Pune City turned out 1-1 in Kochi (played on January 4, 2018).
FC Pune City vs Kerala Blasters: Match schedule
Date: February 2
Time: 8 pm IST
Venue: Balewadi Stadium, Pune
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