KOCHI, Feb 28: Kerala Blasters FC will hope to sign out with a win in front of their home fans as they face NorthEast United FC in their concluding match of the Indian Super League at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi tomorrow.�
Kerala Blasters have had a forgettable season, going 14 matches without a win after their opening day victory against ATK, a run they recently ended with a 3-0 win against Chennaiyin FC at home.�
�Tomorrow it is important to play a good game and win the last game. NorthEast United club means a lot to me because they gave me the first chance to come to India in 2016. I would like to congratulate them for making it to the play-offs,� Kerala Blasters head coach Nelo Vingada said.�
NorthEast United have already sealed their place in the play-offs, having earned 28 points from 17 matches. But with Mumbai City, who are on 30 points, playing their last game the following day, the Highlanders can put pressure on the Islanders and move up the table.
Eelco Schattorie has had to shuffle his first team quite a bit this season due to a lack of depth in the squad, injuries and suspensions.�
�At this moment we have five injuries. Today we just had 18 players on the field. Out of those two are suspended that leaves us with 16. Out of those, three have three yellow cards that means I cannot play them, because that�s a risk going into the play-offs. Out of the remaining 13 players, four of them have never played this season so they lack match fitness,� the Dutchman revealed.�
Schattorie said goalkeepers TP Rehenesh and Pawan Kumar are injured, apart from Rupert Nongrum and Provat Lakra. Jose Leudo will miss out after picking up a red card in their last game, a 1-1 draw against Pune.�
Schattorie has been left with no choice but to field a weakened team against Blasters, having already made it to the play-offs. Bengaluru FC fielded their reserves against Jamshedpur FC and were thrashed 5-1 after taking the lead on Wednesday. Schattorie would have seen that result and will be not want to spoil the mood after taking NorthEast to the play-offs for the first time in their history.
For Kerala, the ISL season was over a long time ago, although coach Vingada will need to secure this win and boost the morale ahead of the Super Cup later this month. It might seem it�s all over but there is still plenty to play for.