ISL table-toppers Kerala Blasters opened their Kalinga Super Cup 2024 campaign against I-League outfit Shillong Lajong on Wednesday.
KBFC vs SHL Match Details
Date: Wednesday, 10 January 2024
Time: 14:00 (IST)
Venue: Kalinga Pitch 1, Bhubaneshwar
KBFC vs SHL Match Preview
It has been a sensational first half of the season in the ISL for Kerala Blasters as they ended last year on top of the standings. The Tuskers collected 26 points from 12 matches with eight wins, 17 goals scored and just 10 conceded. Defeating Shield contenders Mumbai City and Mohun Bagan Super Giant in back-to-back matches before the Asian Cup break has given added confidence to the team which is leading unbeaten FC Goa by two points having played two games more. The Blasters have made their intention clear of finally adding a trophy to the cabinet this season which could also be the Super Cup in addition to their hunt for success in the ISL. Winning the competition will earn them a spot in the AFC Champions League 2, an opportunity that cannot be ignored. Paired in Group B with I-League side Shillong Lajong and two ISL teams in Jamshedpur FC and NorthEast United, Ivan Vukomanovic’s team will certainly fancy winning the group and moving into the semi-final stage. Once again they have to pull off their heroics with an injury-ravaged squad and some players joining the national camp.
Kerala Blasters' journey in the Kalinga Super Cup 2024 begins against Shillong Lajong who are fifth in the I-League. The Reds' return to the league was promising after they went the first eight games unbeaten even halting leaders Mohammedan SC and picking up a win over two-time winners Gokulam Kerala in that period. However, heavy losses to Aizawl and Real Kashmir put them off track briefly but the Reds regathered pace by claiming a 3-0 win over Namdhari FC in the last league game of 2023. Lajong will hope that win gives them motivation to do well in the Super Cup after being drawn into a tough group. Facing the Tuskers in the tournament opener might be the most difficult fixture for them to tackle. The only other participation for the Meghalaya club in the Super Cup was in the inaugural edition in 2018 where they actually beat an ISL side, the now-defunct FC Pune City, in the first round. Deep down though, Shillong Lajong will know they need more than a miracle this time to bail them out of the group stages.
KBFC vs SHL Recent Form
KBFC vs SHL Team News
Kerala Blasters are without the Indian pair Pritam Kotal and Rahul KP who have joined the national team for the Asian Cup in Qatar. Vibin Mohanan and Jeakson Singh is still missing for the side while Adrian Luna’s absence means the Tuskers could field only five foreigners with Daisuke Sakai given a start. Their opposition Shillong Lajong will remain unchanged from their 3-0 win over Namdhari FC in their last I-League match of 2023.
KBFC vs SHL Predicted Lineups
KBFC: Sachin Suresh; Prabir Das, Milos Drincic, Marko Leskovic, Hudrom Singh; Daisuke Sakai, Danish Farooq, Mohammed Azhar, Mohammed Aimen; Dimitrios Diamantakos, Kwame Peprah
SHL: Bishaol Lama; Lyngkhoi Lyngdoh, Daniel Goncalves, Kynsailang Khongsit, Ronney Wilson; Kynsaibor Lhuid, Renan Paulino, Hardy Nongbri, Pursunep Jamir; Hadji Samb, Douglas Rosa Tardin
KBFC vs SHL Dream11 Team Prediction
Kerala Blasters should clinch the victory in their Kalinga Super Cup 2024 group stage opener against Shillong Lajong.
KBFC vs SHL Dream11 Top picks
Captain Pick: Dimitrios Diamantakos
Vice-captain Picks: Kwame Peprah, Renan Paulino
Others: Hadji Samb, Danish Farooq, Hardy Nongbri, Daisuke Sakai
Our top pick for KBFC vs SHL is Dimitrios Diamantakos who has 9 goal contributions (7 goals, 2 assists) for Kerala Blasters in 10 ISL appearances this season. He has also scored 2 goals in the last edition of the Super Cup.
KBFC vs SHL Dream11 Team Suggestion
GK: Suresh (7.5)
DEF: P Das (7.5), Drincic (8), Khongsit (9)
MID: Renan (9), Nongbri (8.5), Danish (8), Sakai (8.5)
FW: Diamantakos (9), Hadji (9), Peprah (7.5)
Captain: Dimitrios Diamantakos
Vice-captain: Kwame Peprah
Stay tuned to Fantasy Football for upcoming ISL matches.