Kerala Face Off With Chennaiyin In What Could Be A Game For The Ages

Match Preview Indian Super League

Friday night brings another ISL match and what a matchup it is. 5th place Kerala Blasters play host to their playoff-contending rivals, 3rd place Chennaiyin in what could be the end of the playoff push or just the start of a very tense ending to the ISL season. Both teams are capable of special things and with them both wanting the win, this could be one for the ages.    

The Stats…   

The hosts, Kerala, go into the game sitting in 5th place, two points behind 4th Jamshedpur and four points behind their opponents. A win would be massive for their playoff push and they desperately need it. They have a decent goalscoring record in the league, scoring twenty goals this season. They have a decent defensive record as well, conceding the same amount that they have scored. David James’ side head into the game in fine form, losing one, drawing one and winning three of their previous five. They haven’t lost in their previous four, so they head into the game full of confidence, which could be dangerous for Chennaiyin.    

The visitors, Chennaiyin, go into the game sitting in 3rd place, four points above their rivals. A win against Kerala would secure their playoff position, however, a draw would open it up for Mumbai or Goa to sneak in. A defeat would be pretty much like smashing the self-destruct button. They have a better goalscoring record than their opponents, scoring twenty-three over the season. They also have a slightly better defensive record, conceding one less goal than their opponents this season. They head into the game in mixed form, winning two, drawing two and losing one of their previous five. They haven’t lost in their previous three games and they desperately need to win and relieve the pressure they currently have on their shoulders.   

Previous Encounter…   

The last time these two teams met was back in December 2017, with the game ending in a 1-1 draw, thanks to some very late drama. After the game was fairly open for eighty-eight minutes, Kerala gave away a penalty which Rene Mihelic slotted home. Everyone thought Chennaiyin had secured the three points, everyone apart from C.K. Vineeth, who smashed home a ninety-fourth-minute equaliser.   

Like I previously said the game was fairly open, both teams were struggling to create quality chances, even though Chennaiyin enjoyed the majority of the possession. Both teams do not want a draw and so it won’t happen this time around.    

The Game Itself…   

The game is extremely close to call as both teams need and want a win. Both teams are in decent form heading into the game and their records in the league are very close. This game will be an open affair, that may start off a little nervy and cautious but as soon as that first goal goes in, it’s going to be mayhem.    

I expect Chennaiyin to have a little more of the ball but it won’t be by that much and I can’t see that being a winning factor in the game. Most teams who enjoy more possession in the ISL seem to lose out to a more clinical side, so who knows, anything could happen.    

Key Player..  

This game’s Key Player choice is the hardest I have had to do since joining the writing team last month. Both teams have some very impactful players and it took me a while to choose just one. Looking at Kerala, they have a few quality players. C.K. Vineeth is one of those who seems to pop up for the Blasters when he is needed. Another is January signing, Baldvinsson. He has been fantastic since signing and it’ll be a real shame if Kerala don’t make the playoffs as we won’t get to see this guy play more.    

Looking at Chennaiyin, they also have some quality players. Mohammed Rafi and Rene Mihelic are fantastic options on the bench and have proven to be over the season. Looking at their starting team for their last game, there can only be one choice for my Key Player and that is Jeje. He currently has seven goals across the course of the season and continues to be a threat to any team’s defence. I reckon he may get the deciding goal in this crucial game.    


With all this being said, I will simply leave you with this. This game is ridiculously hard to predict. In the prediction league, I went for a narrow Kerala win but I honestly cannot predict this game. Both teams, if they want to, could destroy the other in this game and that’s what makes this game the most interesting game of the season. Let’s hope it is one for the ages.

About the Author

Stephen Beavon
Just a young football fan who likes to get his opinion across to others. Love Birmingham City, although it is difficult at times.