The story so far…
It’s safe to say Kerala have not been having a blast so far this season as they’re still to get their first win of the campaign. The season began with three home games for Meulensteen’s side which gave them the perfect start to really make a name for themselves, but, they drew all of them and then got embarrassed by FC Goa last week.
NorthEast are not doing much better, but at least they’ve got a win to their name. Their issue is scoring goals with both of the goals they’ve got this season coming in their win away at Delhi Dynamos, so they will be looking to change that when they face Kerala.
The press conferences…
Meulensteen was understandably questioned about his defence’s seven-minute collapse last time out when Coro scored a hattrick to put Goa 5-2 up and he came back with this response.
“That game wouldn’t have developed that way if Berbatov had been fit, I can guarantee you. Those seven minutes will not happen again,”
If you say so Rene, although I don’t see what difference a striker would have made to your rubbish offside trap, anyway, he had this to say regarding the Bulgarian:
“It’s a loss for sure. Everybody noticed that when he came off against Goa. The way that the game panned put after he left was disappointing. We have to use the squad as always. This is a case of accepting the fact that he is not there,”
Meulensteen then had this to say,
“When you are winning the confidence comes in. People talk about teamwork and team spirit. Believe me, there is only one medicine – winning,”
One problem with that Rene, you haven’t won yet… A bit of good news though for the ex-United coach as Vineeth returns from suspension, he had this to say on the matter.
“It’s very important to have Vineeth back. I thought he did extremely well against Mumbai – running in behind their defence,”
He finished his press conference with a contender for the ‘World’s obvious statement’ Championships that I have just created.
“We have to make sure that we are on our guard and try to minimize their goalscoring opportunity. “Both sets of players are going to try to do well.”
Rene, as always, a man of mystery as he gave not much away at all.
NorthEast gaffer Joao De Deus wasted no time getting his digs in nice and early regarding Kerala’s start to the season.
“If the home team is playing very badly, the crowd is not going to be passionate and not happy. That is going to be good for us.”
De Deus seems to know what tricks Rene has got in store for his team…
“I know that this team is strong on the wings, they play a lot through the wings using their fullbacks.”
He was also quick to dismiss the potential impact that Kerala assistant Thangboi Santo could have against them;
“He (Singto) can know my players. Does he know my ideas of the game? He doesn’t. My players are going to play with the ideas that their coach has.”
He closed off by making a big statement.
“For me, in my opinion, Rowllin is the best Indian football player.”
He was, of course, referring to Rowllin Borges who should be controlling the game from the middle of the park. Well, he will be if De Deus has his way.
The game itself…
This is a very tough one to call and I feel it could go either way. You can’t see it having many goals when you consider that Kerala have only scored three in four and as mentioned earlier, NorthEast have only found the net twice so far.
It’s no doubt going to be cagey and scrappy as I think both teams will set up not to lose as opposed to win. An early goal is needed to open it up. Hopefully, it will go to NorthEast and then anything could happen.
Ones to watch…
Jackinchand Singh – Not only has he got one of the best names in professional football, he’s actually quite good which is always a bonus! He was a thorn in Goa’s side last time out as he scored one and set the other up in what was a rather productive first half for him. Kerala then collapsed, but, Jackichand still looked the most likely and I think it will be more of the same against NorthEast.
Marcinho – You can’t really look beyond the Brazilian when it comes to who makes NorthEast tick. He is one of only two players who has scored for the away side this evening and he will be looking to add to that tally tonight. You really do get the impression that if NorthEast are going to get anything, it will come through him.
One more thing…
All things considered, if I was a betting man and luckily I am, I’d be backing the 0-0 draw @ 13/2.