OFC vs KBFC Match Preview and Fantasy Prediction
Indian Football League
Match 58: OFC vs. KBFC
Before the season, if anyone would have told you that Kerala will be second in the table after the first half of the season and will be ahead of Mumbai and Mohun Bagan, you might not believe it. In reality, things are exactly like that. With a victory under their belt, the Blasters can very well move ahead of Jamshedpur and be the league leaders. Their opponent of the day, Odisha, despite a good start, failed to capitalize and are 8th in the league. They have done reasonably well than the previous season but they have a lot to offer. A win against one of the quality sides can change the momentum and who knows Odisha can surprise everyone and enter into the top four.
Kerala is currently on a nine-match unbeaten streak. They have been playing some phenomenal football and have defeated clubs like Hyderabad, Chenani and Mumbai in also defeated Odisha in the first half of the tournament. Thus, the team will come with a lot of confidence under their belt. Spanish Striker Alvaro Vazquez has been fantastic after a very slow start in the league. Another reason behind Kerala’s success is Adrian Luna. HE has completely changed how Kerala plays and is dictating the match for Kerala. HE of course controls the game and without him, Kerala might even find it difficult to win. He is that important for the team at the moment. With a couple of goals and four assists under his name, Luna has definitely been one of the best foreign signings of this season if not ever.
Coach Ivan Vukomanovic in the pre match press conference talked about their success in the league this season and their secret behind their unbeaten run. “Since we started, we always believed we had the quality to beat anybody. Not only our team but all other clubs in this league, many times the favourites cannot win in the so-called ‘easy games’ and we saw anybody win on a given day. We still had the strength to get back in the game after the first loss against Mohun Bagan. We always believed we can create momentum with good players and personalities”.
Speaking about their plans against Odisha, the coach said, “Now that every club has faced everybody, there is a possibility to watch the other teams and there are no longer any surprises. It is about commitment to the game, team and good organisation. We have to use the quality and the strong points that we have while also using opponents' weak points. We have faced Odisha in the pre-season as well, in those different moments, you have to be ready to respond. I don’t expect anything special tomorrow as I know what can happen. It will be an interesting game and may the better team win”.
Odisha needs to get their mojo back. They are a good team but they somehow consider themselves to be the underdogs and that’s a problem. In their last match, they defeated the defending Champions Mumbai and that proves how strong they can be. They have a potential to finish in the top four but for that, they need to believe first that they can do it. In the second leg of the tournament, they have a golden opportunity to do what they were initially doing. A fresh start can definitely motivate them to do better in the league. Aridai Suarez has been their highest scorer. He along with Jerry, who played brilliant football against Mumbai will be key to win against Kerala. The juggernauts will be depending on them. Along with them, Javi Hernandez needs to back his touch. He is the heart and soul of the team and his performances creates a huge impact in the game. Thus, Odisha needs him to get his form back.
Odisha Coach Kiko Ramirez in the pre match conference lauded Kerala for their dream run. He said, “We know that Kerala Blasters FC are in good shape. They are winning matches which uplifts the mood of the players. They work hard on the pitch. Moreover, they have really good forwards who are a threat to any team”. Speaking about his rival coach, Ramirez said, “He is doing a good job. They are leading the table. His players are moving well. We can just congratulate him. But we need to know how the competition ends. We are in the middle of the competition and the champion will be crowned at the end”.
OFC vs. KBFC Predicted Line Ups
OFC – Kamaljit Singh (GK), Hendry Antonay, Hector Rodas, Victor Mongil, Lalruatthara, Isaac Vanmalsawma, Thoiba Singh, Jerry Mawihmingthanga (C), Liridon Krasniqi, Nandhakumar Sekar, Javier Hernandez
KBFC – Albino Gomes (GK), Harmanjot Khabra, Marco Leskobic, Enes Sipovic, Nishu Kumar, Vincy Barretto, Jeakson Singh, Lalthathanga Khawlhring, Sahal Abdul Samad, Adrian Luna, Jorge Diaz.
Expect a cracking contest for sure but Kerala might just get the win. If Odisha manage to play the way they played against the defending champions, then the match is very much open but otherwise based on the current form, Kerala is ahead of Odisha.
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