Northeast United FC to face ‘experimenting’ Kerala Blasters in Guwahati
GUWAHATI: Northeast United FC is ready to take on Kerala Blasters FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium at Sarusajai in Guwahati on Friday evening.
NEUFC has earned 11 points over the last 6 matches. NEUFC has 3 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss in its pocket. It is currently in the 5th position. While Kerala Blasters in the 7th position earned 7 points from 7 matches with 1 win, 4 draws and 2 loses.
All eyes will be on NEUFC forward striker Bartholomew Ogbeche on Friday. Ogbeche is the second highest goal scorer of this season with 6 goals in 6 matches.
On the other hand, Assam’s Halicharan Narzary is likely to play this time for Kerala on Friday. Narzary has played all the 6 matches and managed to score once and land an assist. The international player and Assam’s blue-eyed boy was the major transfer earlier this year. Critics, however, termed the transfer as a ‘major-loss’ for NEUFC. Initially, Narzary had appeared for FC Goa three times in 2014. He was then transferred to Northeast United FC in 2015. He appeared three times for NEUFC. The fourth season was his best season with 12 appearances.
NEUFC’s Coach Eelco Schattorie’s organized way of playing football seems to be bearing fruits this season. With TP Rehenesh back to the squad and pairing with forwards Juan Cruz Mascia and Ogbeche, NEUFC would look to breach Kerala’s strong defence on Friday.
It can be also said that NEUFC has not been able to retain or even recruit the abundant talent Northeast has. John Abraham had said during ISL’s inaugural season, “We will select players from Northeast that’s for sure.”
Assam footballers, Durga Boro and Allen Deory, who appeared in the first two seasons don’t play for NEUFC anymore. Allen Deory, an international player, is playing for Mumbai FC this season.
Northeast United FC will host their 4th game at home. NEUFC failed to maintain their unbeaten streak in this winning season after they lost to Mumbai 1-0 in their last match. It can be noted that NEUFC is having the best season so far. However, they have not won a single game at their home ground despite remaining unbeaten in the first five games.
Kerala Blasters FC has been playing good football despite being in the lower end of the table. But there is lack of combination which is evident on the field. The constant experimenting by Coach David James only to ‘make a team for the future’ is attracting inconsistency for Kerala Blasters FC.
Seiminlen Doungel, Halicharan Narzary and the local boy Prasanth Karuthadathkuni’s skills have been inconsistent so far. With their already set defence, the strikers would look to breach the somewhat inconsistent defence of NEUFC. But the lack of expertise in the form of an experienced player in Kerala Blasters is clearly seen on field as youngster Sahal Abdul Samad was seen struggling.
Lack of attack is another aspect that has been bogging down Kerala Blasters FC. They lost to the most attacking team in the current season, Bengaluru FC and FC Goa. NEUFC would certainly try to take advantage of that.
- Northeast United FC
- Kerala Blasters
- ISL 2018-19
- Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium
NEUFC team practicing at Sarusajai in Guwahati