Blasters hope to gain inspiration from fighting finish

The Blasters will be without midfielder Mehtab Hossain who got a red card in the last game but former Spanish World Cup winner Carlos Marchena, the marquee player and defender, could make his ISL debut on Sunday.

Kerala Blasters host an in-form Delhi Dynamos.   -  PTI

The Kerala Blasters FC hope to gain inspiration from the few bright spots in their last game, a 1-2 away loss against Atletico de Kolkata, as they take on Roberto Carlos’ Delhi Dynamos in their fourth Hero Indian Super League match at the Nehru Stadium here on Sunday.

“We must not start second best against Delhi, we must start the best we can. We got punished in both halves with goals scored by Kolkata but for me and for us, I think we finished both halves very strongly. We eventually got a goal and made Kolkata nervous,” said the Blasters head coach Peter Taylor on Saturday.

“Unfortunately, we were not as sharp as I would have liked. And there were poor defensive goals, so there a few little things that we know we got to do better tomorrow.”

The return of star defender Sandesh Jhingan, the ISL’s emerging player last year, and midfielder Cavin Lobo after India’s World Cup qualifying duty, will surely be a morale-booster to the Kochi-based team which has a reputation of being a strong side at home.

The Blasters will be without midfielder Mehtab Hossain who got a red card in the last game but former Spanish World Cup winner Carlos Marchena, the marquee player and defender, could make his ISL debut on Sunday.

Taylor felt Delhi, which lost to the Blasters and missed a berth in the last four last year, deserve a lot of respect this season.

“They have a fantastic new head coach and some very good players I’ve seen before in England, John Arne Riise and Florent Malouda, big names, so it’s a big test,” said Taylor.

“We certainly respect Delhi, but I think we need to make sure we enter the field with just about enough respect and we show them what we are capable of doing. We are very capable of being a good team and we are very capable of covering the grass. And that’s what I see tomorrow night.”

The tall central defender Riise could be the biggest hurdle for the Kerala stars Chris Dagnall, Sanchez Watt and Josu Currias Prieto. But local star Mohammed Rafi, who is recovering from a groin injury, is not likely to start.

Meanwhile, Delhi are on a happy run, having beaten the strong Chennaiyin FC and FC Pune City in their last two games and the Brazilian great Roberto Carlos said that his boys were aware of what to expect in a packed stadium and that he would also love to play in front of such a huge crowd.

“Tomorrow’s game is going to be very complicated, very tough. But the majority of my players know what to expect when we play here. If we are focused, we can get the better of them.

“As a player, I used to love playing in a packed stadium. I would run on to the pitch like crazy to win the game. So my players too will enjoy in front of 60,000 people. They need to go out there and have fun.”

But will Carlos, also Delhi’s marquee player, play?

“If the situation demands, I’ll play. I’m ready,” he said, continuing the guessing game.