Things have not gone according to the plan for one of the title favourites, Kerala Blasters, as they lie on the eight position of the ISL 2017-18 standings table. They will be keen to end 2017 on a winning note as they prepare to host Bengaluru FC at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Sunday.
Bengaluru have also gone off the boil in their last two matches, losing to Chennaiyin and Jamshedpur FC. They have slipped down the table to fifth place, but a win during the massive Southern derby could help them climb to top three. With both teams looking to progress in the standings, the match has all the ingredients of a classic derby.
The Blasters will need their big guns to fire to pick their second win of the season. They will depend on their striker CK Vineeth, who has shown some good form of late, and his performance could play an important role in the match result as well.
They have been impressive of late, picking a win and a draw in their last two matches, which will give them the confidence to beat Bengaluru. The atmosphere inside the stadium is going to be terrific, and coach Rene Meulensteen is looking forward to this derby.
"We have to treat it as one of the games with a little sort of edge to it because it has a derby feel to it which is always good. It makes the games special. And all the fans are up for it, looking and listening and seeing to the responses going around. That will be good for us. We are looking forward to it," ISL official website quoted Blasters' coach as saying.
Bengaluru might have started the season well, but last two matches have put them on the backfoot, and especially their narrow loss against Jamshedpur might have hurt them a lot.
With some wonderful offensive players like Sunil Chhetri and Edu Garcia, Bengaluru are a strong unit while going forward. They have to deliver on Sunday.
The vistors' playing style has always been attractive as they prefer an attacking brand and Bengaluru FC assistant coach Naushad Moosa said that the same will be witnessed on Sunday.
"We are playing positive football, and we will be playing positive football tomorrow. It's not that we will go defensive. We have come here for points, and hopefully we will get them," Moosa said.
Where to watch live
Kerala Blasters vs Bengaluru FC is scheduled for 5:30 pm IST.
India - Star Sports 2/HD, Star Sports Hindi 1/HD, Star Sports 3, Star Gold, Star UTSAV, Jalsha Movies, Suvarna Plus.
Live streaming: Hotstar
Live score: Twitter