ISL: Materazzi not banking on history against Kerala

Chennaiyin FC takes on Kerala Blasters in what promises to be a high-octane affair.

Chennaiyin FC will miss the services of Mendoza who scored a hat-trick in this fixture last year.   -  M.Moorthy

A little more than two seasons old, the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) has already seen some great rivalries between teams. The Maha-derby, played between Maharashtra-based FC Pune City and Mumbai City FC, has produced its fair share of drama while the big metropolitan clash between Delhi and Mumbai has also garnered a lot of attention.

But perhaps the most intense and riveting rivalry is between Chennaiyin FC and Kerala Blasters. Dubbed as the South Indian derby, the matches have always seen high-drama, with the most memorable one being the first season's semifinals which Kerala won 4-3 on aggregate.

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History favours Chennaiyin though, with four wins and a draw in the six matches between the two teams. But coach Marco Materazzi is taking nothing for granted.

“Previous games do not have any bearing on the next game. The loss to Delhi this season was our worst ever game in ISL history. After the last game also I was really disappointed. But we can’t brood over it and must work hard,” he said.

The former World Cup winner, who saw his side lose two points from a winning position after conceding a late goal against FC Pune City in its previous match, said his team needed to be smarter if it is to improve its position in the League table.

“I am upset because we lost two points. It was actually a free kick in our favour but then we were not smart enough and let the other team score. If we had won, we could have been on top of the table,” said Materazzi.

Coppell wary of ‘strong’ Chennai

Kerala Blasters coach Steve Coppell admitted his team will have a tough match when it takes on host Chennaiyin FC..

“Chennaiyin has been the most successful team in the Indian Super League (ISL) so far. They won the league stage competition in the first year and won the competition last year. They have very strong squad of players and a formula which has been successful. It is a great chance for a coach to play against a team like them because you get to analyse your team. I hope we can do well tomorrow,” he said.

Kerala Blasters comes into the match with some momentum after having notched up a come-back victory against FC Goa and the coach said it was important to sustain the momentum.

“Any win in this division is very important. It is very close and there is no great deal of difference in points table amongst the teams. The victory against Goa was very important for us and we need to continue the run,” said Coppell.

The South Indian derby generally tends to be a goal fest (18 goals have been scored in six matches) and with the teams separated only by goal difference (Chennaiyin has played a game less), the match at Jawaharlal Nehru stadium promises to be an exciting affair.

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