Jamshedpur FC host Kerala Blasters FC in Saturday’s double-header in ISL

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Jamshedpur FC will take on Kerala Blasters FC with a place in the playoffs at stake as the two teams square off at the JRD Tata Sports Complex in the Indian
Super League (ISL) 2023-24 match on Saturday at 7:30 pm IST.

Kerala Blasters FC has faced defeats in four out of their previous five matches this season. The Yellow Army is stuck at fifth spot in the standings at present, having 29 points from 18 games.

They have not officially made it to the playoffs yet, but are a good eight points ahead of the sixth-placed Punjab FC (21), who have played a game more (19) than the Kochi-based team (18).

Jamshedpur FC has won twice in their previous five matches, earning 20 points out of 19 games. They are a point behind Punjab FC, and will be locking horns with Kerala Blasters FC, Chennaiyin FC, and FC Goa respectively to round off their league campaign.

The first place looks significantly far off for Kerala Blasters FC at the moment, but they will want to recover some form before potentially heading into the playoffs.

Jamshedpur FC has not won any of their last five games against Kerala Blasters FC in the ISL. This is their longest such run against the Yellow Army, and their second longest stretch of this kind against any team, only next to Bengaluru FC (6).

Jamshedpur FC’s 3-0 loss in their previous game due to forfeit was their first defeat in their home turf against Mumbai City FC. The Red Miners were unbeaten in their previous four matches at the JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamil’s reign.

However, they are also without a clean sheet in their previous seven encounters at home. It is difficult to catch a breath against the Red Miners, especially in the final phases of the game.

They have netted nine times in the final 15 minutes of their games so far, which is the most amongst all teams in the competition.

However, no team has scored fewer goals than them (2) in the final 15 minutes of the first half of their matches until now, which is a period of the match that Kerala Blasters FC can look to attack them at this season.

Kerala Blasters FC held the upper hand in most of their proceedings in the first half of the season. However, their form has deteriorated since then, and they have failed to score in each of their last
two away fixtures in the ISL.

The last time they went with more away games without finding the back of the net even once was of three matches between October-November 2016.

Ivan Vukomanovic & Co. will be wary of dragging things right back on track to bolster their chances of finishing the campaign strongly.

They have had to deal with multiple injury concerns, but the squad still has it in them to get their backs straight up and deliver better performances than they have had since the international break in January.

Of course, the mantle for the same will have to be taken by their Greek striker Dimitrios Diamantakos, who has recorded a shooting accuracy of 75% in the league, which is the highest amongst all players in the competition who have attempted at least 10 shots.

Rehenesh TP of Jamshedpur FC has made four or more saves in three of his last four Indian Super League games, as many times as he had done in his 14 previous games this season; only Bengaluru FC’s Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has made 4+ saves in more ISL games this season (10) than Rehenesh’s six.

He has helped Jamshedpur FC keep five clean sheets, recorded a 71% saves rate, made nine punches, 19 clearances, distributed 150 balls successfully, and saved one penalty as well. Rehenesh has been rock solid between the posts for the Red Miners, and his consistency on that front will be crucial to their chances in the fag end of the campaign.

Kerala Blasters FC striker Dimitrios Diamantakos has scored 12 goals in addition to three assists in 15 appearances so far, averaging one goal contribution per ISL game this season. With 70% passing accuracy and 75% shooting accuracy, Diamantakos has been a livewire in the Kerala Blasters FC frontline.

He has completed around 12.53 successful passes per game, completing 10 successful dribbles,
17 passes per game, winning 50 duels in total, recording 40 recoveries, and notching 42.86% goal conversion rate. He has made 17 key passes and created 20 goal-scoring opportunities, shouldering the entire responsibility of the team’s attacking unit in the last couple of months.

“If you ask me, we deserve to be in the top six and qualify for the playoffs, considering our team and the quality of players that we have with us. The side has been doing well so far and if we continue to get the support of the fans, we will definitely make it to the playoffs,” Jamshedpur FC head coach Khalid Jamil said ahead of the game.

“We have been working with a vision to develop this project and it is the third season of us doing that. It means trying to build the club, and every year when we compete, our objective is to be amongst the best teams in the country, to be in the playoffs and fight for the prizes amongst other things,” Kerala Blasters FC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic said in the pre-match press conference.

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