DELHI WERE EXPECTED TO FIRE from all angles at Kerala but they were contained well by the Blasters. Home is where the heart is and for Delhi and it's time to show what they can do at home.
Delhi Dynamos FC
Unbeaten at home
Failed to score 4 times so far
Just one clean sheet at home
Kerala Blasters FC
Just one away win
Scored only four away goals
Kept just one clean sheet in away games
A look at the above statistics highlights the poor away record that can bite Kerala. But Blasters are a team that has proved that numbers don't dictate how they perform whenever a challenge is thrown at them. They faced a troubling time at the season start when they were without their first choice players like Hughes and Josu missing due national duty or suspension. Hughes, the marquee and at the heart of the defence partnering with Hengbart have been like a wall. Josu doubling up as a winger apart from a left back position has added a lot of flare in the Kerala attack.
Kerala have a goal advantage coming into the deciding second leg. Goal scoring chances fell to both sides but both were guilty of being unable to convert them into goals. The Blasters rely on their defensive abilities, which is best bet against many teams and did that well against Delhi too. Delhi were having an off day in the offensive department. Usually the free flowing game that we see from Delhi namely in the likes of Marcelino, Malouda and Lewis was absent. Gadze too failed to pose any threat.
Playing at home has it's own advantage. Kerala made that count and they have shown their dominance in the league stages. They won 5 out of 7 games at home and that fact saw them over the finish line in their home tie in the semi final. Now when the tables are turned towards Delhi's den, one piece of stat that is must be worrying Kerala is that Delhi are unbeaten at home. Dynamos finished third in the league and they had the best goal difference in ISL 3.
When do the goals come?
Delhi have scored 27 goals in the league stage. Only 7 of them have come in the first half. Majority being scored in the final 20 minutes. Kerala, too like to leave it for late. They have done it against FC Goa and NorthEast United FC earlier in the league. Do not be suprised if you do see some very late goals tomorrow leaving you at the edge of your seat wherever you are watching the game from.
A side that can bank on it's defensive strength and hit opposition on the counters with pace and the other, a team that relies on the motto that "Offence is the best form of defence". Tough to pick a clear winner but going by the way Kerala have thrown in late surprises from time to time, we can expect one coming our way in the second leg as well. We predict a narrow 1-0 win to Kerala or may be a goalless draw see the Blasters into the finals.
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