Kochi: Kerala Blasters will be hosting Jamshedpur FC in their second Indian Super League (ISL) match at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium here on Sunday. The season has just begun, and teams are still working on perfecting their game. For both Blasters and Jamshedpur, this will be a test run with the machines recalibrated after the opening game.
Blasters defeated bitter rivals Bengaluru FC 2-1 in their opening game, while Jamshedpur FC played out a goalless draw against East Bengal FC in Kolkata. The memory of Bengaluru pulling one back against the Blasters due to poor defence may linger in the mind of their manager, Ivan Vukomanovic, as his team prepares for their second consecutive home match.
The Serb, who will not be present in the dugout as he is serving a 10-game suspension following the walkout against Bengaluru last season, would like his players to find rhythm before they head to Mumbai on October 8 for their first away match of the season.
Jamshedpur manager Scott Cooper would aim to make improvements before heading home to host Hyderabad FC on October 5. Cooper openly expressed his disappointment with the team's performance in the post-match press briefing. He was satisfied to pocket a point from the match, thanks to their Brazilian defender Elsinho, who went on to win the player-of-the-match award with his 11 clearances. It would be interesting to see goalkeeper T P Rehenesh back in action at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium against his former teammates in front of the home fans.
Cooper's side, which looked clueless in the first half against East Bengal, produced some good counterattacks in the second half, though not fruitful. Blasters would be wary of these quick attacks, as the side, despite playing a defensive 4-4-2 formation in the first match, failed to stop Bengaluru forwards from creating chances.
The match also promises to be a battle between Blasters' playmaker Adrian Luna and Jamshedpur's iron wall Elsinho.