With an opportunity to climb up four places with a win, high-flying Kerala Blasters FC host FC Goa in the Indian Super League (ISL) on Saturday. The match will be played at the Goa Medical College Ground in Bambolim.
Kerala Blasters, who are 9th in the ISL standings, are on a steady upward curve. Kibu Vicuna's side has settled down and are showing glimpses of cohesion, which was missing earlier in the season. They won their last game against Bengaluru FC with a 2-1 scoreline.
FC Goa are third in the table and look like firm favourites to qualify for the knockouts. They have shown discipline and resilience as a unit and are a confident team. They drew 1-1 with second-placed ATK Mohun Bagan FC in their previous fixture.
Kerala Blasters FC vs FC Goa: Head-to-head
Kerala Blasters FC and FC Goa have played each other on 13 occasions. The Blasters have managed to won just 3 games while only one fixture ended in a draw. The Gaurs have won 9 fixtures over the Kochi-based side since ISL 2014 and ran out 3-1 winners against the Blasters earlier this season.
Kerala Blasters FC vs FC Goa: Last 5 head-to-head results
FC Goa 3-1 Kerala Blasters FC
FC Goa 3-2 Kerala Blasters FC
Kerala Blasters FC 2-2 FC Goa
FC Goa 3-0 Kerala Blasters FC
Kerala Blasters FC 1-2 FC Goa
Kerala Blasters FC form guide: L-L-W-D-W
FC Goa form guide: W-W-D-W-D
Kerala Blasters FC vs FC Goa: Team news
Kerala Blasters FC
Kerala Blasters FC have a host of injury concerns. Facundo Pereyra and Jessel Carneiro have started training but are nowhere close to match fitness. Jordan Murray has also taken a knock, which may force Kibu Vicuna to go with a 4-5-1 formation with Gary Hooper as a lone striker.
FC Goa are expected to take the field without significant changes to their starting line-up. Jorge Ortiz Mendoza has cemented his place in the team in the absence of Igor Angulo, who is dealing with minor health issues. Adil Khan has joined the squad on loan from Hyderabad FC for the remainder of the season.
Kerala Blasters FC vs FC Goa predicted XIs
Kerala Blasters FC
Predicted XI (4-5-1): Albino Gomes (GK), Sandeep Singh, Costa Nhamoinesu (C), Jeakson Singh, Rahul KP, Sahal Abdul Samad, Vicente Gomez, Juande, Yondrembem Denechandra, Gary Hooper, Seityasen Singh.
Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Naveen Kumar (GK), Saviour Gama, Seriton Fernandes, James Donachie, Ivan Gonzalez, Lenny Rodrigues, Edu Bedia (C), Alexander Jesuraj, Brandon Fernandes, Jorge Mendoza, Alberto Noguera.
Kerala Blasters FC vs FC Goa prediction
Kerala Blasters are improving as a unit and brimming with confidence following their derby win over Bengaluru FC. However, Kibu Vicuna's side have some serious injury concerns. FC Goa are a settled unit now and should manage to get all three points on Saturday.
Prediction: Kerala Blasters FC 1 - 2 FC Goa