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ISL 2016: NorthEast United FC vs Kerala Blasters - Preview, prediction, and TV listings

Full match preview, team news and line up for the match between NorthEast United and Kerala Blasters FC.

NorthEast United Kerala Blasters
This will be another tough encounter to predict 

Two football teams with immensely passionate fan base, NorthEast United and Kerala Blasters FC take on each other on Saturday, as the former host the latter in the opening game of the Indian Super League (ISL) season 3 at Guwahati. 

Both teams would love to forget their disappointing 2015 ISL campaign aside as they approach the new season with a fresh set of players and new coaches. Last year too, both these teams faced other in their opening game, where the Kerala brigade had the last laugh with a 3-1 win at Kochi. With the reversed fixture being played this year, NorthEast ideally should leave no stones unturned to get off to a cracking start this season. 

Also read: ISL 2016: Marquee Players and what they add to their teams   

Kerala, who finished at the bottom of the table last season, under the leadership of their new coach Steve Coppell, might just be the team under greater pressure as they would face the heat of a noisy NorthEast crowd. 

NorthEast United vs Kerala Blasters Team News

For the home team, Sasha Aneff and Fabio Neves are injured with the latter being already ruled out of the tournament. Sasha, who has a broken rib, is on the road to recovering, and will train after two weeks. The other player NorthEast coach Nelo Vingada will miss out is Salam Rajan Singh, who is on AFC Cup duty with Bengaluru FC. 

As for Kerala, they too have a couple of key players missing for the opening tie with Chekiyot Vineeth and Rino Anto unavailable due to AFC commitments. But if coach Coppell is to be believed, he has a largely injury-free squad at his disposal, which also includes Antonio German, who was under the cloud for starting training late. 

NorthEast United vs Kerala Blasters Coaches Speak

In the pre-match conference, both Nelo Vingada and Steve Coppell stressed on the unpredictability of the league. Both refused to comment much on the opposition as both the teams have signed quite a lot of new players and we are yet to see him play. 

Nelo Vingada, however, hinted that he needed a little more time for preparation, but said that his is prepared for the challenge. “We have arrived here two weeks ago and we have been training since our preseason in Dubai. If you ask me, ideally I would like to have another week to prepare for this game. I am sure if you ask the other coaches, they would say the same. But it's pointless to cry about that now. We will play in our city, out home and we will go in with the determination to win all three points. I am not hiding it but our target is to reach the playoff and then the finals of the ISL,” 

Also read: 5 Indian Super League debutants to watch out for

When asked the same question to the Kerala counterpart, Coppell replied,  “I’ve said it a number of times it’s very difficult to judge because so far we’ve only played games in Thailand, and a couple of games otherwise. We look at other teams on paper and the players they have are International players and Indian players; and because we haven’t played anyone yet in India as such yet, it is very hard to judge the level you are against them. Only after about two or three games, you will be able to see whether the work you have done has been the correct work.”

NorthEast United vs Kerala Blasters Head to Head

 NorthEast United FCKerala Blasters FC
Win12
Loss21
Draw11

Kerala here seems to have an advantage, having won two of the four games played and that too with impressive score lines of 3-1 and 4-1. The only win for the Highlanders came in the came in the first meeting between the two sides in Hero ISL 2014.

NorthEast United vs Kerala Blasters Squads: 

NorthEast United FC: Subrata Paul, TP Rehenesh, Wellington Gomes, Salam Ranjan Singh, Nirmal Chettri, Shouvik Ghosh, Robin Gurung, Reagan Singh, Mailson Alves, Gustavo Lazzaretti, Didier Zokora, Fanai Lalrempuia, Holicharan Narzary, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Katsumi Yusa, Koffi Christian N’dri, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Rowllin Borges, Seityasen Singh, Wellington Priori, Romaric, Emiliano Alfaro, Nicolas Velez, Sasha Aneff, Robert Cullen, Sumeet Passi

Kerala Blasters FC: Graham Stack, Sandip Nandy, Kunal Sawant, Mohammad Ansari, Aaron Hughes, Cedric Hengbart, Sandesh Jhingan, Gurwinder Singh, Pratik Chaudhary, Elhadji Ndoye, Josu Currais, Didier Boris Kadio, Azrack Mahamat, Mehtab Hossain, Mohammed Rafique, Ishfaq Ahmed, Vinit Rai, Michael Chopra, Antonio German, Kervens Belfort, Duckens Nazon, Mohammed Rafi, Thongkhosiem Haokip, Farukh Chaudhary, Prasanth Karuthadathkuni

NorthEast United vs Kerala Blasters Kick Off Time, Venue, TV listings and Live Stream Info:

ISL 3 Opening Ceremony Starts: 5:30 pm

Live Telecast: StarSports 2, StarSports HD2, StarSports 3(Hindi), StarSports HD3(Hindi), Star Gold (Hindi)

Live Stream: starsports.com, hotstar

Venue: Indira Gandhi Stadium, Sarusajai, Guwahati

NorthEast United vs Kerala Blasters Prediction

It will be a close encounter seeing how this is the first match for both sides. The home team should have the edge thanks to the backing of the crowd and should edge this one by a solitary goal. 

NorthEast United 1-0 Kerala Blasters

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