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BFC vs KER, Indian Super League 2022/23: MPL Preview, Predictions & Fantasy Team

The fixture between Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters is a blockbuster and it has almost always produced fireworks in the Indian Super League. The stakes are higher this time around as a place in the semi-final of the ISL 2022/23 season is on the line. Bengaluru will enjoy the home advantage courtesy of finishing higher in fourth place and they will host the Blasters at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Friday.

Both Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters possess two of the most passionate fanbases and sets of supporters in India. The last encounter between the two sides became infamous for all the wrong reasons as fan violence was witnessed in the stadium. Therefore, the bragging rights are not just limited to the players on the pitch who will be vying for the semi-final spot, but is also expected to the stands and a proper spectacle could be on the cards for us.

The two teams are also arriving to this eliminator fixture on the back of wildly contrasting forms. While Simon Grayson’s men have made a comeback for the ages with eight straight victories to take them to fourth from ninth place, Kerala Blasters have lost most of their steam and have suffered defeats in each of their last three encounters. It goes without saying that the mood in both the camps couldn’t have been more different.

It wasn’t a long time ago that Bengaluru FC were staring at a third consecutive underwhelming season where they fail to match their potential and not manage a place in the knockouts. After playing their first 12 matches in the league, they had just 10 points to their account and were looking set to miss out on a playoff spot even in the new format where six of the 11 teams get a chance to play in the knockout rounds.

However, the turn of the year proved to be a blessing in disguise for the 2018-19 ISL winners as Simon Grayson’s men embarked on a comeback story for the ages. They have since gone on to secure eight wins on the trot and have climbed into the fourth place from their previous ninth position. Bengaluru are the only unbeaten team in the league in 2023 and they were also the first team this season to defeat league shield winners Mumbai City FC.

A lot of that success can be attributed to Bengaluru sorting out their scoring shoes in front of goal. The goals had dried up in the first half of their campaign and they were only able to find the back of the net on just eight occasions in the first 12 matches. Since then, they have scored 19 goals in eight games at a rate of 2.38 goals per game.

The emergence of young Sivasakthi Narayanan has been a revelation for Grayson’s side. He has been lethal upfront and has played with a hunger and desire that has also allowed the veterans in Roy Krishna and Sunil Chhetri to function better as the chemistry between them only got stronger and stronger. The 21-year-old has six goals in the last eight matches, playing a massive role in Bengaluru FC’s unbeaten run in 2023.

However, the Blues’ defensive work has also been well executed and their defenders led by the outstanding and experienced Sandesh Jhingan have conceded only six goals in eight matches, compared to 17 in their previous 12. Bengaluru have also found a game-changer in the middle of the park in Javi Hernandez and the former ATK player has been in blistering form.

Kerala Blasters lie on the other end of the spectrum. They are the side that has suffered the most losses in 2023 and Blasters have also struggled to score in in four of their nine games since the turn of the year. That wasn’t the case in the first half of the season where they had found the back of the net in all games, except just one.

Despite managing to qualify for the ISL playoffs in consecutive seasons, it has been a topsy-turvy ride for Ivan Vukomanovic and his players. The Tuskers had made history by matching their longest-ever unbeaten streak (eight matches) and then their head coach had to witness his side lose six times in the next eight matches.

Kerala Blasters will be concerned about the form of striker Dimitrios Diamanatakos. He has been the primary outlet for Vukomanovic’s team and has been the target man since the season began. While he continues to be their leading goal-scorer with 10 goals in 20 matches so far this season, the team losing steam and shape has also resulted in the Greek suffering a drip in form. As a result, goals have dried up in the last five matches and he has only been able to score one goal and has had a single shot on target.

The fact that Blasters arrive into this game on the back of a three-game losing streak also makes for ominous bearings. They have lost all of their last three matches by single-goal margins including a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Bengaluru FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium just three weeks ago. However, the Tuskers had won the first match between the two sides, winning 3-2 in Kochi and they will be looking to pull off something similar, even though it may seem a little bit of tall order at the moment.

It goes without saying that the form of Diamanatakos and the service delivered to him will be crucial if Blasters wish to qualify for the semi-final. They don’t have another potent goal threat besides him and Adrian Luna is the second-highest goal-scorer in the team but he is six goals behind the Greek striker’s tally. The 29-year-old was on the scoresheet when the arch-rivals met in December. He helped the team with one goal while also providing an assist in the fixture in Kochi.

BFC vs KER, Indian Super League 2022/23

Date: 3rd March, 2023

Time: 7:30 PM IST

Venue: Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru


Bengaluru FC Indian Super League form:

  • W-W-W-W-W

Kerala Blasters Indian Super League form:

  • L-L-L-W-L


Bengaluru FC wins: 7

Draws: 2

Kerala Blasters wins: 3


Bengaluru FC Team News: 

Alan Costa will be flying back from Brazil in order to join the Bengaluru FC squad and he might be available for this fixture, although Simon Grayson may prefer to start him on the bench.

Kerala Blasters Team News:

Ivan Kalyuzhni is expected to be unavailable for this contest after picking up a suspension in the last game. Meanwhile, Sandeep is also absent after undergoing surgery.

Bengaluru FC possible starting lineup:

Gurpreet Sandhu (GK), Sandesh Jhingan, Aleksandar Jovanovic, Roshan Naorem, Prabir Das, Rohit Kumar, Suresh Wangjam, Javi Hernandez, Sunil Chhetri (C), Roy Krishna, Siva Narayanan.

Kerala Blasters possible starting lineup:

Prabhsukhan Gill (GK), Ruivah Hormipam, Jessel Carneiro (C), Marko Leskovic, Nishu Kumar, Ivan Kaliuzhnyi, Danish Farooq, Adrian Luna, Sahal Samad, Rahul KP, Dimitrios Diamantakos.


Given the kind of form that they have been in and the fact that they have managed to revitalise their season and have been effective in both the goal-scoring and defensive departments, it would be hard for Bengaluru to not secure a win in this game. They are the only unbeaten side in the ISL in 2023 and there’s no doubt that Grayson will be reminding his men about going all the way.

Meanwhile, Kerala Blasters seem to be in a world of trouble as they have limped and struggled in recent matches and have also lost their bearings in front of goal. Bengaluru had also defeated them in the same stadium just a few days ago and that could prove to be the case once again here.

BFC vs KER Fantasy XI No. 1

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK); Sandesh Jhingan, Ruivah Hormipam, Marko Leskovic; Javi Hernandez, Naorem Roshan Singh, Rohit Kumar, Ivan Kaliuzhnyi; Roy Krishna (c), Sivasakthi Narayanan (vc), Dimitrios Diamantakos

BFC vs KER Fantasy XI No. 2

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK); Sandesh Jhingan, Ruivah Hormipam, Marko Leskovic; Javi Hernandez (vc), Naorem Roshan Singh, Rahul KP, Ivan Kaliuzhnyi; Roy Krishna, Sivasakthi Narayanan, Dimitrios Diamantakos (c)


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