ISL: Kerala Blasters seeks first win at home

After suffering a 5-2 thrashing against FC Goa last week, Kerala Blasters will look to secure its first win at home when it hosts NorthEast United on Friday.

After enduring its worst ever start (point-wise) in the history of league, Kerala Blasters will look to register its first home win of the season when it faces NorthEast United FC on Friday.   -  H. Vibhu

Amidst mounting injuries woes and a heavy away defeat in Goa, Kerala Blasters will hope to get its faltering Indian Super League campaign on a winning track when it takes on NorthEast United FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru international stadium on Friday.

After enduring its worst ever start (point-wise) in the history of league, Rene Mulensteen’s side seeking is first win in the league against NEUFC, which has never beaten Blasters in its home territory. Blasters coach Meulensteen was not willing to dwell too much into the defeat against Goa but rued the absence of Dimitar Berbatov who according to him brought quality into the side.

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"We were improving as a team and playing better in every match. It was a freak seven minutes against Goa when we let in three goals. We're obviously disappointed how things panned out in the second half. But I am sure the outcome of the match would have been different if Berbatov was there. His absence is a loss. He is a player who brings quality and composure to the team. Now we have to accept the fact that he won’t be there and it is up to other players to step up and play. It is good that the defeat against Goa came fairly early in the league as we have got enough time to correct the mistakes,’’ said the coach.

However, Blasters will still be without Wes Brown and Iain Hume though both players have recovered and have resumed training. Rene Meulensteen was tight-lipped about their return to the squad against NEUFC.

"The players are keen for our first win which will keep our campaign going. We have focused hard this week, but we don’t want to put ourselves in pressure,’’ he said.

The Blasters coach said NEUFC was a quality and dangerous side. "There is enough quality in the NEUFC team. Their forwards are as good as any other quality forwards in the league and we need to be on our guard and deny goal scoring opportunities to them,’’ he said. The Blasters, however, will be boosted by the return of C. K. Vineeth to the squad.

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North East United coach Joao De Deus was confident that his team could win against Blasters and rewrite history. "What happened in the past is history. Every match is a fresh start. I have a good feeling that we will play well and win against Blasters. But you cannot write off Blasters after one defeat they are also a good side and they attack through the wings. We need to stop that,’’ he said.

The coach also spoke highly of Rowllin Borges, who according to him is the best Indian player, and hoped the Indian international would play an influential role again to win the support of the Blasters fans.

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